Have your say on key planning document to maximise genuinely affordable homes in Royal Borough

Affordable housing planning document graphic

People are invited to help finalise a key planning document that will assist with securing the right amount and type of new affordable housing in the borough.

The council is holding a six-week public consultation, until 20 June, on its draft Affordable Housing Delivery Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), a technical document which will help guide developers and those deciding planning applications.

While SPDs cannot create new planning policy, or change existing, it sets out detailed guidance to help the council and developers in negotiations to achieve as much affordable housing as possible from proposed schemes, placing the priority on social rented and affordable rented homes which best meet local needs.

Shaped with early input from affordable housing providers and developers, the draft SPD is structured around a series of questions to guide developers in bringing forward the right amount and type of affordable housing and ensure it is well integrated into development.

The Borough Local Plan (BLP) requires developers to deliver 30% or 40% affordable homes on schemes of normally ten or more properties, depending on specific size, nature and location. The required tenure mix is 45% social rented, 35% affordable rented and 20% intermediate housing (e.g. shared ownership).

The BLP makes clear that affordable housing should be delivered on-site. For those exceptional circumstances when on-site is not possible, the SPD sets out a robust and consistent approach for calculating financial contributions from developers that can be used to provide affordable housing elsewhere in the borough.

The council would like to hear people’s views on the draft document. To get involved, visit our website to view the draft SPD document and leave your comments by completing the online feedback form.
You can also attend one of the below sessions:

  • Tuesday 4 June 2024 from 2pm to 6.30pm – Windsor Library drop-in session
  • Wednesday 5 June 2024 from 7pm to 8.30pm – Online webinar via Microsoft Teams – The link for joining will be added to the website during w/c 3 June 2024
  • Thursday 6 June 2024 from 2pm to 6.30pm – Maidenhead Library drop-in session

If you don’t have online access, you are welcome to use the public-access computers available at all local libraries. Paper copies of consultation documents are located at Maidenhead, Windsor and Ascot libraries. Paper copies of the response form are also available from these libraries upon request.

If you do not submit your response through the online portal, completed response forms should be emailed to planning.consultation@rbwm.gov.uk or posted to Planning Policy, Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, Town Hall, St Ives Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 1RF.

Following the closure of the consultation, the council will carefully consider all issues raised in the consultation and update the SPD as appropriate, and then formally adopt the SPD. It will then be taken into account when planning applications are decided.

Councillor Adam Bermange, Cabinet member for planning, legal and asset management, said: “We all know there’s an urgent need for more genuinely affordable housing in our borough and many residents find it very difficult to find a home, either to buy or rent, especially young people and those on low incomes.

“This document seeks to optimise the amount and type of affordable housing that we can deliver through the planning system, placing the priority on social rented as this is the most affordable to residents.

“Because of the complex nature of providing affordable housing, the SPD is very much a technical document aimed at developers and those deciding planning applications, however we wanted to share with the wider public for feedback before making the final decision.”

Councillor Catherine del Campo, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing Service, said: “We know that housing is a major challenge for many local people, and this document will help us make the most of every development opportunity to secure genuinely affordable housing, working with affordable housing providers and developers.

“The Borough Local Plan, construction costs and land costs all place limitations on affordable housing, however a stronger emphasis on rented housing, especially social rented, and a robust and consistent approach to addressing viability concerns in new developments will help us meet the housing needs of our residents.”