Penshurst Rural Exceptions Housing Project Meeting 8/12/14

Penshurst – Rural Exceptions Housing Project


Date:              8 December 2014


Attendees:    Cllr Paddy Cooke, SDC Tessa O’Sullivan, Rural Housing Enabler, AWCiRK

Penshurst Parish Council: John Cass; Diane Broad; Jon Horsford; Bruce Townsend; Andy Campbell

SDC Housing: Gavin Missons; Liz Crockford

SDC Planning: Claire Pamberi; Simon Taylor


Introductions and apologies 

Apologies received from Simon Frederick; Jeremy Broadhead

Overview of parish needs survey and its results


TO provided an overview.  15 households have been identified as in housing need requiring a mix of rented and shared-ownership housing.  This is set out on page 26 of the needs analysis report. TO advised those who have expressed a preference for shared-ownership are also willing to consider rented housing.

JC asked where the identified older people currently live.  Action – TO to advise.

Overview of Core Strategy SP4 – rural exceptions housing

Claire provided an overview of SP4. 

Number of new build affordable homes to be sought.

CP advised the general rule is to develop new homes to accommodate half the level of need identified.  PPC determined 8 new homes should be developed.  It was recognised the new homes may be delivered across one or more sites, subject to viability considerations.

In terms of unit sizes, PPC determined at least 6 of the homes should have 2 bedrooms. 

The tenure of homes was discussed.  LC explained the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) model leases and pointed out many mortgage lenders are not willing to lend against the 80% capped lease.  PPC determined all 8 homes should be developed for rent.

Sites search methodology and scoring mechanism

TO advised, in her experience, local knowledge regarding potential sites is held by the Parish Council and local residents and there was no additional benefit in commissioning external consultants to undertake a sites search.  All sites identified to date plus any new sites identified via the survey (page 11 of the needs analysis report) or through direct contact with PPC/SDC, will be considered.  A further call for sites would be made, giving a cut-off deadline of 26 January 2015.  Action – PPC to advertise call for sites via their website and Parish Council notice-board.

It was agreed SDC Planning Policy would draw up a pro-forma for the sites assessment and determine a scoring mechanism – this would be based on SP4 and the Allocations and Development Management Plan site allocations.  Action – ST to draw up pro-forma and circulate to the group.

It was agreed SDC Planning Policy and TO would initially score the sites.  ST is to undertake a sites walkabout of currently known sites as soon as possible. Action – ST to arrange walkabout. 

It was agreed the initial scoring would be forwarded to PPC so local information regarding availability of sites, could be included.  It was agreed PPC would seek written confirmation from owners as to site availability.  Action – ST to forward sites assessment pro-forma and initial scoring to PPC by 2 January 2015.   

Action PPC – to return the completed scoring to SDC by 9 January 2015.

Stakeholder’s involvement in sites search

The stakeholders were confirmed as WKHA, Beckets Trust and the Penshurst Place Estate.  Action PPC – to advise if there are any further stakeholders to be included.  Please advise GM.  

The sites assessment and scoring will be shared with stakeholders on 12 January 2015, ready for discussion at the meeting on 14 January. Action – LC to circulate sites assessment and scoring.  

Stakeholders will be given the opportunity to comment on the sites assessment.  Commentary on site viability will be welcomed. GM advised it is anticipated grant funding will be applied from the HCA (2015 – 2018 Affordable Homes Programme). 

Timeframe for sites search and selection of preferred site(s)

Stakeholders and local residents to be asked to forward details of any additional sites (including written confirmation from owners as to site availability) to PPC by 26 January 2015. Action ST – any additional sites to be inspected on a second site visit exercise and all sites across both visits will then be considered equally under a scoring system developed by SDC Planning Policy by the very latest of 29 January 2015.    

Action LC – completed sites assessment pro-forma and scoring to be sent to PPC on 30 January 2015.

PPC advised they intend setting an agenda item for the Parish Council meeting on 2 February 2015 to discuss the sites assessment and scoring and to determine which site(s) are supported for development.

Selection of Registered Provider(s)

PPC advised the selection of the Registered Provider (RP) will be site dependent as the site owner is given a say. WKHA remains the preferred RP for the Forge Field site.

Keeping local residents advised

Needs survey analysis report available on SDC’s website – Affordable housing and housing associations – Sevenoaks District Council

PPC will advertise a call for sites via the Parish Council website and noticeboard. 


Cllr C suggested arranging a separate meeting with Beckets Trust prior to 14 January 2015.  Action –Cllr C to arrange and invite GM.

PPC raised query re. the flood plain and Leigh barrier.  Action – Cllr C to advise.

Date of next meeting – 14 January 2015