“No affordability gaps” at Fairoaks Garden Village

Fairoaks Garden Village will create a mixed and balanced community through the provision of a broad range of types and tenures of housing to ensure no affordability gaps. A variety of house sizes and options will be on offer. For example, affordable housing will be mixed with private housing for sale.

Surrey Heath ranks 288th out of 347 districts reported by the Office of National Statistics (2017) in England and Wales for affordability of housing. The median property price in Surrey Heath in 2017 was £395,000, which is approximately 11 times the median resident income of £35,40411 (over seven times the average household income). The high proportion of households with middle range incomes highlights the need for a range of housing products such as affordable rent, shared ownership, shared equity, and help to buy to address the affordability gap.

The affordable homes proposed for Fairoaks will create options for people who would not otherwise be able to enter the housing market at current market prices. Fairoaks Garden Village will provide a mix of affordable and intermediate housing options, helping to create a mixed and balanced community with no affordability gap. 

Delivery of housing is an ongoing national priority to meet both existing and future demand. Surrey Heath’s Core Strategy and Development Management policies commit the Borough to delivering 3,240 new homes by 2028. Fairoaks Garden Village would make a significant contribution towards this target, delivering 1,000 new homes – 31% of the target.

The local Chobham housing market is out of balance, with existing stock dominated by larger family sized houses which do not meet the needs of all groups. Those who seek smaller and more affordable dwellings are likely to experience greater difficulty than in the wider Surrey Heath/Woking area. This creates real problems for those who wish to enter the housing market, as well as older residents who may be looking to downsize; and is reflected in the existing household composition, with a lower proportion of one person households under the age of 65 years and a greater proportion of over 65s family households.

Fairoaks Garden Village will deliver a greater mix of both size and tenure of housing, with a range of options to ensure there is a balance of provision throughout the garden village including:

·       40% of the housing will be affordable with a mix of affordable rent, shared ownership and shared equity housing;

·       In addition, starter homes – sold with a restrictive covenant to ensure they are discounted from open market sale values in perpetuity;

·       Private rent – build to rent delivered by a specialist provider with a track record of high quality management, and a long-term commitment;

·       Market sale – which will be registered with the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme to assist first time buyers;

·       Self-build/custom build – through a specialist delivery team;

·       SME house builders – for development and sale; and

·       Supported, specialist and retirement housing – suitable for downsizers, older residents and those with a requirement for some supported living.

The exact percentages of the affordable housing, including intermediate tenures, will be policy compliant and will be set out in the Local Authority’s Section 106 Agreement.

Ian Cox, Managing Director of Fairoaks Garden Village, said:

“It is clear there is an affordability gap in the housing supply in this part of Surrey that has polarised new provision into a very limited supply of affordable housing and expensive homes for sale that are above the means of those who would, in the past, have entered into home ownership. The cost of private rent is also high and acts as a barrier to home ownership by making it more difficult for those on average incomes to save for a deposit. The lack of security of tenure also undermines the potential stability of the community. Fairoaks Garden Village’s aim is for people to be able to move within the completed development with housing to suit their needs and requirements as these change throughout their lives.”

“The provision of new homes collocated alongside new jobs will encourage local living and working, reducing the need for long distance commuting and associated consequences, particularly in terms of congestion and capacity constraints on transport routes.”

“Fairoaks Garden Village is committed to creating an innovative, exemplar development that is sustainable in economic, environmental and social terms – using an approach that will balance employment and housing in order to encourage local living and working.”