“For many rural households, finding somewhere affordable in their local community remains a barrier. Small developments of local needs housing schemes can provide affordable housing for local people, thereby enabling them to stay in their community and contribute to village life.”
December 2014, the Rural Housing Alliance
Following the parish wide housing needs survey carried out in May 2018 (a survey was posted to every household) (1) by an independent Rural Housing Enabler (2), Hever Parish Council is working with English Rural Housing Association (3) to propose the development of a small scheme of eight affordable homes for local (4) people. This may include a range and combination of one bedroom flats to 3 bedroom homes, depending on the needs of locals (a second stage housing needs survey will be done in 2019).
These schemes are built on ‘exception sites’; this is land which wouldn’t usually be allocated by the planning authority (Sevenoaks District Council) for housing but can be considered for affordable housing to meet a proven local need. These homes will be for rent and shared ownership sale and can never be sold on the open market; remaining as homes only for locals forever. The Parish Council is currently looking at possible suitable sites in the Parish and there will be full Consultation on any proposals of course.
We would also like to hear from Landowners who might have a suitable site for an affordable housing proposal. Ideally, it would be located close to Four Elms, Hever or Markbeech and be a minimum of three quarters of an acre in size. In some cases, land has been gifted as a legacy to the Community by landowners who wish to support such projects.
Please submit details of your site to the Parish Council Clerk (clerk@hever.org) – deadline 28 February 2019.
For more information; 

For more information;

Summary of the 2018 Housing Needs survey; http://hever.org/973-2

Rural Housing Alliance http://ruralhousingalliance.net/

Sevenoaks District Council Core Strategy February 2011

Sevenoaks District 2017 Local Housing Needs study

Kent Rural Homes Protocal www.kenthousinggroup.org.uk


Campaign to Protect Rural England www.cpre.org.uk/


REFERENCES / Further information

  • See hever.org/heverparishcouncil for details of previously published survey and results

As a parish council, we are obliged to undertake a housing needs survey every 5 years.  The motivation for HPC is to respond to the local need identified and to ensure that any affordable homes built in the parish are for local benefit.  Currently, those locals in housing need and on the housing register are part of the Sevenoaks District housing register and are unlikely to be allocated a home in the parish where they wish to live. HPC is made up of 10 Councillors who live locally and endeavour to make decisions in the interests of the local community, Councillors are not paid but volunteer their time to serve our villages.

  • Action with Communities in Rural Kent
  • ERHA is a specialist rural provider of affordable housing, owning and managing stock

across rural England.  English Rural owns and manages 1200 properties, in 120 villages, mainly across the south of England. The homes are built by English Rural in partnership with local landowners, parish councils and local housing and planning authorities.

Their role is to work with parish councils, using their expertise and experience, including through local public consultation to ensure the community is well informed and that any locals concerns about the project are addressed.

ERHA are a Community Benefit Society, which is a not for profit organisation that is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority with the specific intention that it must benefit the community.  They are registered with a Government body (currently the Homes and Communities Agency), so that service standards and the use of public money for housing can be monitored.

English Rural believes the long term security of tenure is important for those that they provide homes to and also the communities they live in. This approach of a ‘generational tenancy’ is on the basis that it was particularly designed to provide young families security whilst children went through education. This approach is about sustaining and building communities though housing local people close to their support networks.

  • What do you mean by local?

Local means a person who is; currently resident in the parish, was previously resident in the parish and wants to return, is permanently employed in the parish, or is connected by close family still living in the parish.

Won’t the housing developments in Edenbridge include affordable housing that could meet the local need?

No.  Any affordable homes built in Edenbridge will be open to anyone on Sevenoaks District Council’s housing register to apply for, so not local needs housing.  Those in greatest need from anywhere in the Sevenoaks District (spread from Swanley in the north to Cowden in the South) will be given priority.  The homes in Edenbridge also may not be the type and size that local people to the parish need and probably not close enough to family / work they want to stay close to.  However, affordable homes built locally with ERHA would be only for those with a local connection and could not be sold to residents under the right to buy.

Any proposals would go through the usual planning processes and consider the effectiveness of the green Belt, Conservation Areas, Local Wildlife sites, AONB etc.  Those sites with the least negative impact on the countryside will of course be preferred.  Agricultural land may be considered for such proposals.  All other planning considerations such as utilities and flood risks will also be considered.