View our proposals for two new affordable homes to the rear of Sealcroft Cottages, off Childsbridge Lane, from 4pm to 8pm on Wednesday 4 December 2019, at Seal Village Hall.
We know that property prices in Seal are high. In February 2017, the cheapest local home available for sale was a two-bedroom house costing £255,000. You’d need a £40,000 deposit and household income of over £60,000 to buy it.
So renting or buying is beyond the means of many people on low or modest incomes, including people and families who grew up or work in Seal.
In October 2010 and again in 2017, Sevenoaks District Council and Seal Parish Council wrote to every home in the parish asking about local housing issues.
We found there was a need to provide 17 new ‘local needs’ affordable homes for 33 adults and 12 children all with a local connection who want to live village, but cannot afford to do so.
Local landowners were asked if they would provide land for new affordable homes and in March 2012, we held an information event to showcase sites. Unfortunately, after the event, the selected sites were no longer available.
West Kent and English Rural housing associations have now suggested two new sites for local needs housing.
West Kent’s have put forward a site at Mills Crescent and English Rural Housing Association have put forward a small site at Sealcroft Cottages (off Childsbridge Lane).
English Rural and West Kent housing associations are hoping to build 17 ‘local needs’ affordable homes for people with a close connection to Seal.
All the homes would be available to rent and tenants would not be able to buy them under ‘Right to Buy’.
The homes would only ever be available to people on the Housing Register and people with a close connection to Seal would have top priority.
To be eligible, applicants would need to meet at least one of the following criteria:
The housing associations are proposing to build a variety of homes, including one bedroom bungalows for older people, one bedroom flats for single people and couples, and two, three and four bedroom homes for families.
The Foxbury Farm site, a privatley owned site which already has planning permission, will provide six ‘local needs’ affordable homes.
If approved, West Kent’s Mills Crescent site will provide nine new homes and English Rural Housing Association’s Sealcroft Cottages site, two new homes.
Opportunities to build new homes in rural areas are much more limited than in urban areas because of planning restrictions, including the Green Belt.
This generally means there are few affordable housing choices for local people.
National planning policy says some new affordable housing should form part of new developments of 10 or more homes.
For smaller sites, six to nine homes, we can secure money from developers for new affordable housing.
Since 2010, six much-need affordable homes have been approved on the Foxbury Farm development and we secured funding from three developers in Seal.
If there is a proven need for local affordable housing, and no other viable alternatives, national planning policy allows new local needs housing in the Green Belt. These are called ‘Rural Exception Sites’.
Both the Mills Crescent and the Sealcroft Cottages sites would be Rural Exception Sites.
As with all Rural Exception Sites, the land stays in the Green Belt even after the new homes are built. To protect the openness of the Green Belt, certain developments may not be allowed, such as extensions and outbuildings.
Full details on the Sevenoaks District Countil webpage here.