In response to the lack of affordable housing in the countryside, the Government has produced a consultation paper setting out guidance on how local authorities can encourage landowners to bring forward additional land for affordable housing. This will be of major interest to providers of social housing and in particular housing associations who acquire land in rural areas for affordable housing.

Key proposals include:

  • Giving the landowner the right to retain a freehold interest in the land with housing associations / affordable housing providers paying an upfront or annual payment for the lease.
  • The landowner having the right to nominate family members or employees for affordable housing.

All family members or employees referred would have to meet housing needs criteria and local connections tests.

The full document can be read here: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/incentivisingconsultation.pdf