New plan to accelerate affordable housing delivery

New plan to accelerate affordable housing delivery

At least a thousand new affordable homes will be built each year from 2024 after Bristol City Council’s Cabinet approved plans to accelerate home building.

10 February 2022

The Project 1000 Affordable Housing Delivery Plan 2022-25 outlines how the council will focus its land, time, money, and influence to create a step change in the way affordable housing is delivered in Bristol to meet its bold new ambition.

Building on the council’s Housing Delivery Plan 2017-20 and reflecting the Corporate Strategy 2022-27 commitment to ensuring the affordability, availability, diversity and sustainability of housing for all citizens, Project 1000 will accelerate delivery so half of all homes delivered by the council and its partners each year by 2024 are affordable.

Affordable housing is housing for eligible households who cannot afford to pay market rents or are unable to buy homes at market value. For affordable rent, the council is committed to capping new lettings at Local Housing Allowance levels, which sit well below the 80 per cent of market rent defined by national policy.[1]

There are currently over 16,000 applicants on the council’s Housing Register, and projections suggest the city will need 22,261 new affordable homes over the next 20 years. Project 1000 sets out how the council will supercharge affordable delivery to meet this need, at the same time as tackling the climate and ecological emergencies and building sustainable, balanced communities.

To help develop Project 1000 and identify how to increase the affordable homes target, the council reviewed the effectiveness of various affordable housing projects where it had direct and arms-length influence. From successes of schemes such as Hope Rise and Ashton Rise, and challenges at others, the council has built up an evidence base that has helped determine how Bristol’s housing ecosystem can provide the affordable homes the city needs. 

Project 1000 will include working more closely with registered and other affordable housing providers and disposing of land to third parties like community-led housing groups. The council will also further explore the use of innovative, low-carbon Modern Methods of Construction (MMC).

Increasing Goram Homes’ pipeline will play a major role in helping the council meeting its ambitions, by giving the council greater control over how its land is used and the type of homes built on it. Last week, the council announced that Hengrove Park, the major 1,400 home development in South Bristol, will be brought forward by Goram Homes, enabling around 700 of the new homes to be affordable housing.

Councillor Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes, said: “Project 1000 is an exciting step-change in how we deliver affordable homes in Bristol. We want to work with partners, communities and developers to deliver the homes we need in the right places, so that we can better meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in the city. Building homes is about more than the number of dwellings.  Everyone deserves fair access to a good quality home that is clean, safe, and close to amenities - it is one of the most effective catalysts to improving peoples’ life chances, creating resilient, inclusive neighbourhoods, and enabling people to live healthy, sustainable lives.” 

Watch how having a home is transforming peoples’ lives in Bristol.   

Project 1000 – how the council will do it

The council will maximise its influence and pull all the levers it can to secure more affordable housing for Bristol’s citizens by:

  • accelerating the delivery of housing through the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) which has currently identified over 1000 new council homes. Using research and insights the council will make sure these developments meet specific, local, affordable housing needs. 
  • working with Goram Homes, the council’s housing company, to accelerate delivery of over 1700 homes in their current pipeline. An additional 1400 homes at Hengrove Park are also proposed for the Goram pipeline, which goes to Cabinet in March. 
  • making more housing sites available by targeted disposal of brownfield land to the HRA pipeline, Goram Homes and our other housing partners.  
  • supporting HomesWest Bristol Registered Providers and other affordable housing partners with specialist policy, funding and delivery support and advice so they can maximise their affordable homes delivery.
  • ensuring other council functions are optimised to enable accelerated delivery. 
  • ensuring affordable housing is embedded in the council’s land disposals and major regeneration projects such as Temple Quarter and Frome Gateway.
  • securing new affordable housing through the robust application of the council’s planning policy for affordable housing as well as enhancing and creating additional planning policy documents that will enable more affordable housing delivery.
  • creating a diverse range of small-scale affordable housing projects that contribute to local community housing need by de-risking and disposing of council sites to community-led organisations, Registered Providers, small developers and self-builders.
  • establishing a new Affordable Housing Funding Policy that will establish updated parameters around funding for affordable housing.
  • creating a web-based resource where third parties can find information and opportunities for affordable housing delivery. 
  • utilising innovative and modern methods of construction (MMC) to deliver sustainable, affordable housing at pace.  The council is already seen as one of the leading UK Local Authorities using MMC.

[1] The council's priority for delivery is Social Rent, which is the most affordable of rented tenures. Affordable Rent homes are also delivered in Bristol. While national definitions state that Affordable Rents are set at ‘up to 80 per cent of market rent’, affordable housing providers in Bristol cap each new letting to Local Housing Allowance levels, which sit well below 80 per cent of the market rate. Affordable Rents also include all service charges.

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