Affordable Local-Needs Housing

At last some good news. The Trust’s housing adviser, Wessex Community Assets, has persuaded North Devon Council to approve £10,000 for feasibility studies at our preferred construction site on the northern edge of Parracombe. This is on top of funding for legal searches and reports which has already been approved.

Feasibility studies may include archaeological, landscape, groundworks and environmental assessments – essentially making sure there are no nasty surprises or potential problems on the site. This is important because attracting a housing association partner / developer to a remote village like Parracombe will be challenging in the current economic climate. We should be in a stronger position if we can show that all necessary preparatory work has been done properly and satisfies both National Park planners and other statutory consultees such as Western Power and South West Water.

The Trust Board would like to thank NDC for its support and commitment in trying to address the dire shortage of local-needs affordable homes. Thanks also to our adviser at WCA, Jay Lambe, for her dogged work in keeping our project on track.

The biggest funding hurdles however still lie ahead. The bulk of expenditure will go on the planning and consultation process, along with architects fees, and although Homes England has indicated its support, we don’t know how much money the government is going make available through its Community-Led Housing Programme. This may not become clear until the Treasury completes its Comprehensive Spending Review (expected in the autumn) and of course the continuing coronavirus pandemic will inevitably be a major factor in that.

Nick Constable
Secretary Parracombe Community Trust

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