Affordable Housing Sub Group Meeting Minutes 12th October 2010

Penshusrt Village Project Affordable Housing Sub Group – 7 October 2010


                Evelyn Divall)

                Rob Sellings)

Dianne Broad)                   Penshurst Parish Council (PPC)

Andy Campbell)

                Janet Ranson                     West Kent HA

                Cllr Paddy Cooke              SDC Ward Councillor

                Lesley Bowles                    SDC Community Development

                Liz Crockford                      SDC Housing


Matters Arising (affordable housing) from Steering Group meeting – 21 July 2010

LC advised an updated sites analysis had been produced, featuring sites 7 and 8 (Grove Road and land adjacent to Bridge House) and circulated to Group.  An updated sites map had been put on the SDC “affordable housing” page for the Parish Council web site to link into.


Parish Council Meeting – 4 October 2010

Various Group members had attended.  Reported 25+ Keep Penshurst Green (KPG) members attending. who seemed to find the answers useful., Also identified other issues, i.e. identified potential need for 3 bedroom houses.  PPC advised some residents had said they would not attend as had felt intimidated previously.

WKHA provided SDC with question & answer notes from meeting.  The notes show an indicative land take for the provision of 6 affordable houses on the Forge Field site of 20%.  Agreed very important for November newsletter to provide residents with a clear idea (via plan drawings) of (a) indicative level of land take required (at Forge Field and any other suitable site identified) and (b) conceptual drawings of a 6-home affordable housing development in Penshurst.  JR to action via Smiths Gore.

Status of proposed “open space” to Forge Field development raised.  JR advised if amenity area for the 6 affordable homes, likely that WKHA would manage and maintain.  However if intended for wider village use, WKHA would not be able to do so.  In this eventuality, PPC to consider whether they would take on. 

Status of Section 106 Agreement and any future Deeds of Variation raised.  JR advised to her knowledge, can be varied within 5 years but only if all signatories (including SDC) agree.  Suggested may be more watertight if WKHA also signatories?  LB to raise issue with SDC Legal Services and revert to Group.

PPC confirmed KPG group have been provided opportunity to identify alternative suitable sites for the development of new affordable housing within the Parish. First discussed in the Summer.  Timing, value for money (i.e. eligibility for HCA grant funding and compliance with draft Kent & Medway Rural Housing Site Valuation Protocol) and deliverability are critical.  JR to provide economic and sustainability briefing . ED to forward briefing to KPG and advise them  that plan of identified sites to be submitted to PPC by 10 November.  KPG to confirm name of all relevant landowners and provide evidence of the landowners’ willingness to sell to WKHA within the advised economic parameters.

Cllr C queried status of the Becket Trust, advising he was a co-opted member of the Trust.  LC explained the Trust’s grant funding status, as advised by the HCA.  It was noted the Steering Group had endorsed WKHA  as the preferred housing association partner in December 2009.  In addition, the landowner (of the Forge Field site) had selected WKHA as their preferred partner. LC to forward details of the Trust’s HCA grant funding status to Cllr C.


Workshops/November Newsletter/Questionnaire

Workshops –

LB advised she would be facilitating the following workshops, reviewing all aspects of an affordable housing development.  This was in accordance with HCA guidance that consultation should reflect the make up of the community.

2 x Keep Penshurst Green groups

2 x “harder to reach” groups (PPC assisting with identifying potential residents, i.e. older people, families)

1 x Penshurst applicants via the Sevenoaks District Housing Register (WKHA currently considering due to data protection issues)

1 x PPC group + Cllr Cooke + (County) Cllr Lake.

LB confirmed that the results of all workshops would not be attributable to individuals and would take place during October (except the PPC group  on 1 November).  PPC have booked Penshurst Village Hall to host the workshops.  It was suggested one of the “harder to reach” groups should be held in Fordcombe Village Hall.  ED to arrange.

November Newsletter and Questionnaire–

KPG sites analysis to be completed prior to Newsletter so any identified sites can be included for consideration by residents. LB advised that KPG group would be asked to agree Newsletter and questionnaire.  LB to action.

Some debate over number of households in the Parish (of Penshurst and Fordcombe). LC advised the original Rural Housing Enabler’s survey and the first questionnaire, had been sent to the published 699 households (Council  Tax records).  In other documents, 1,313 residents referred to – is this the population and not number of households?  LC to check with SDC Democratic Services re. number of households and population of the Parish.

Agreed draft newsletter to be entitled “Newsletter and Questionnaire”. Questionnaire to include reminder that any residents interested in being considered for the affordable homes need to be registered on the Sevenoaks District Housing Register.   In the “Where are we now?” section, paragraph two, wording to be amended to, “This means that the proposed development is much smaller than the size of the original scheme”.  In the “We now need your views”, paragraph two, wording to be amended to, “The proposed development would occupy no more than approximately 20% of the field”. Questionnaire, return date to be amended to 3 December. Questionnaire,  question 2, to be made clearer in terms of geographic coverage – Penshurst, Fordcombe, and hamlets of Poundsbridge and Walter’s Green. LB to action.  JR to provide drawings for inclusion in the Newsletter, as previously detailed above.

All questionnaires to be numbered prior to dispatch (1 – 699), although no means of identifying to specific resident.  LC to action. LB to include sentence in questionnaire advising numbering does not allow identification.

 LB confirmed SDC will pay for print costs of newsletter and questionnaire and provision of envelopes. PPC confirmed they will pay for postage and provision of stamped addressed envelopes for return.  (query – ED, will PPC provide sae’s and arrange posting of newsletter/questionnaire or should SDC invoice cost of these to PPC?)


Key Dates

The following timeline was agreed:

15 October – JR to have provided conceptual affordable housing drawings to LB

18 October to 1 November – LB facilitating workshops

10 November  – KPG to have returned their sites analysis and back up documentation.  LB to have provided written feedback to PPC re. outcome of workshops

12 November – 2pm, walkabout of KPG sites

15 November – SDC Planning, PPC and WKHA to have completed KPG sites analysis.  LC to update master sites analysis and maps.

16 November to 18 November – Newsletter and questionnaire to be finalized, printed and made ready for distribution.  LB leading.

19 November – Newsletter and questionnaire distributed to all households in  Parish

3 December – deadline for return of questionnaire

6 December – SDC to provide analysis of questionnaire returns to PPC

6 December (evening) – PPC meeting.  PPC affordable housing sub group members to report back to parish re. outcome of workshops,  analysis of questionnaire returns and draft local connections criteria.  PPC to vote on whether (a) support development of a rural exceptions site affordable housing scheme,  (b) preferred location of said scheme, and c) endorsement of draft local connections criteria.

Week commencing 13 December – Penshurst Village Project Steering Group to be convened (by LC).


Local Connections/Nominations Criteria

It was agreed, at such time as WKHA are about to make nominations to the six houses, a list of applicant post codes will be provided to the PPC.  If an applicant is claiming a family connection to the Parish, WKHA will contact ED to seek PPC confirmation of this status.

With reference to AC’s comments, PPC confirmed they wished the residency criteria to be raised to 5 years/7 out of the last 10 years.  It was noted any applicant with less than 5 years’ residency could still be considered under the “any other connection” category at the discretion of SDC, in liaison with PPC.  The weighting (or not) of the various local connection categories is a matter for decision by PPC.  LB suggested this would be a useful point to consider at workshops.  LB to advise PPC of feedback from workshops. PPC to consider and advise LC of their decision by 6 December.

It was confirmed by LC and JR that applications from outside Priority Group 1 (a local connection to Penshurst Parish) will only be considered if there are absolutely no applicants in housing need from within that category.

JR advised the status of any nomination rights to the Penshurst Place Estate is still under negotiation.  It would depend on the ownership of any site finally selected for development.  LC  confirmed any such rights would still need to conform with the local connections/housing need criteria as set out in the draft nominations criteria.

 LC to make all necessary amendments to the draft nominations criteria prior to PPC meeting on 6 December.

Liz Crockford, 12 October 2010