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Last revised March 21, 2018

What is affordable housing?

the definition of affordable housing is changing as many more people nowadays cannot afford to buy their own homes; but here is a short list of the current forms

Homes to rent at

  • affordable rents (80% of market rate)
  • social rents

Homes to buy

  • affordable home ownership

Homes for older people

  • sheltered housing for rent
  • extra care housing for rent
  • extra care affordable home ownership

Bristol Local Plan – Core Strategy Policy BCS 17: Affordable Housing Provision

Affordable housing will be required in residential developments of 15 dwellings or more.

The following percentage targets will be sought through negotiation:

• 40% in North West, Inner West and Inner East Bristol;

• 30% in all other locations.

In residential developments below 15 dwellings an appropriate contribution towards the provision of affordable housing may be sought (either as a financial contribution or as on site provision) in accordance with any relevant policy in the Site Allocations and Development Management Development Plan Document.

Residential developments should provide a mix of affordable housing units and contribute to the creation of mixed, balanced and inclusive communities. The tenure, size and type of affordable units will reflect identified needs, site suitability and economic viability.


An Affordable Housing Practice Note was published by Bristol City Council setting out guidance on Affordable Housing provision Affordable Housing Practice Note AHPN 2018


Site Allocations and Development Management Policies
Policy DM3: Affordable Housing Provision: Smaller Sites
Residential developments comprising 10 to 14 dwellings should make an appropriate contribution towards the provision of affordable housing on-site or, where on-site provision cannot be practicably achieved, as an equivalent financial contribution.

The following percentage targets will be sought through negotiation:

  • 20% in Inner West, Inner East and South Bristol
  • 10% in North West, East and North Bristol

Where units are provided on-site these should remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or, if this restriction is lifted, for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.
Where scheme viability may be affected, developers will be expected to provide full development appraisals to demonstrate an alternative affordable housing provision

>Central Government brought out a paper in April 2013 which enables developers to negotiate the levels of affordable housing provided, based on viability.

Go to DCLG paper s106 affordable housing provision

>Bristol published their document Affordable Housing Practice Note in April 2014. This sets out the way in which developers have to support their applications to provide less than the Bristol affordable housing standards.

>The 2015 Affordable Housing Framework evaluates Bristol current affordable housing provision and sets out an action plan for the next 5 years.

This set out the justification for the levels of affordable housing required across the city and the viability assessment standards that will be expected if a developer seeks to justify a lesser level.

>The government gave prior approval for conversions from offices into residential without setting an affordable housing provision. see article in The Planner. by Zoe Willcox.

In simple terms, a development is considered to be viable if the Residual Land Value (RLV) of the development is greater than the Site Value. The RLV is calculated by ascertaining the value of the completed development, and subtracting from this all the costs involved in bringing the development forward (e.g. build costs, professional fees, legal costs, financing costs etc.) and the developer’s profit. All inputs are based on present day costs and values.

>Affordable housing is not required for all classes of development, so it is in the developers’ interest to argue that their particular development comes under Use Classes that do not require affordable housing.