As you will know, last year MCLT entered
into a partnership with Mike and Anne Ball to explore a possible site for
affordable housing, west of the Garston Farm buildings. After the village
meeting at the end of July where there was strong support for the CLT proposal,
we interviewed architects and housing associations and appointed Reed Watts as
our architect and United Communities as our housing association partner.
We applied for a grant from Homes England
in November 2018 to enable us to carry out a full feasibility study of the
Garston Farm site. It took a little time for the grant to be approved but
in March 2019 work started in earnest and specialist consultants have now been
employed to provide a series of reports on the archaeology, landscape, ecology
and topology of the site as well as the technical aspect of land structure,
utilities and highways. These reports have provided a significant amount of
information and our architect, Reed Watts, has coordinated this data as they
have developed a draft scheme for the site.
An indicative scheme has now been sent to South
Gloucestershire Council for discussion through what is known as the Pre-app
process. This advice is important in addressing major concerns such as access
and the way a development will fit into the local environment so it is
important that we get that advice even though we know it may take some time before
we can meet with South Gloucestershire planners.
draft application will be amended in the light of this advice and brought to
the village so we can take your views into account. Following that consultation
and any further amendments, a final planning application will then be made.
We hope to get planning permission to
build 12 affordable homes; a mix of 1-beds flats, 2 beds and 3-beds houses for
rent and shared ownership, and 6 market houses. Three of these are plots for a
return for the landowner and three will be open market houses to help finance
the affordable homes. Planning
consent will be subject to a Section 106 Agreement restricting occupancy of the
affordable homes to local people in perpetuity.
The application will be for planning
consent under South Gloucestershire Council’s policy on Rural Exception Sites
which can allow development in the Green Belt and AONB when the application is
for affordable housing for local people. Such proposals are strengthened if
they are community led initiatives such as ours.
In 2018 Marshfield Parish Council
commissioned a Housing Needs Survey which was carried out by South
Gloucestershire Council. This survey confirmed the findings of the 2013 survey
and indicated that there is still a need in Marshfield for housing for people
with local connections. The Parish Council have confirmed their support for the
findings of The Housing Needs Survey and this will strengthen the MCLT planning
In our discussions of the site we have
been aware that the houses will be close to a cluster of agricultural buildings
and the architect’s initial indicative design has been sympathetic to this
context. Another key aim is to charge as low a rent as possible. The rented houses will be available either at
Affordable Rents (defined as 80% of market rents for similar properties,
subject to be capped at the Local Housing Allowance rate) or, if we can achieve
it, at Social Rents which are significantly lower. We want to incorporate some low-energy
measures and also are looking for opportunities to maximise biodiversity and
green space across the site but these will have to be balanced against build
costs and achieving affordability for residents.
We are hopeful that planning permission
may be granted towards the end of 2019. It is unlikely that houses will be
available to live in before 2021 but we have already begun to think about the criteria
that will be used in allocating the houses.
of these houses will be in accordance with ‘local connection’ criteria agreed
by MCLT. Applicants will need to register with South Gloucestershire Council’s
HomeChoice to verify their need for affordable housing.
Closer to the time when people are
thinking of applying, the MCLT intends to provide workshops to clarify the
HomeChoice application process.
and managing the homes
United Communities Housing Association will
play a very significant role once we have received planning permission. They
will fund, develop and manage the rented accommodation homes as well as
managing the sale of market houses and shared ownership. The freehold of the
houses remains with the MCLT.
Please contact any member of the MCLT
board if you would like more information or have any thoughts on the work of
The MCLT Board
Christine Eden (Chair- 01225 891525 email@example.com),
Oliver Shirley, Simon Turner, Jim Brookes, Ian Jones, Ian Dawes, Ros Snow