Oak Close: update from the parish council

Braishfield Parish Council would like to welcome the first residents of Oak Close, who moved in just in time for Christmas in their new homes.

The homes have been needed for many years and it has been a long time in the planning, so it is great to see the project completed by Hyde Housing Association.

Braishfield Parish Council was consulted by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) throughout the planning process and has always emphasised the community wish for the houses to be for people with a strong local connection, and for this to be the case into the future. This was successfully protected by the inclusion of a planning restriction on the tenure of the properties: all nine were originally planned to be for rental. You may, therefore, be interested to know why “for sale” signs have been erected. It stems from a change in the funding system for social housing rental properties, which took place whilst the scheme was under construction, and made it unviable for Hyde Housing Association. Hyde requested of TVBC that they could change the tenure of some of the properties to “Shared Ownership”, in order to fund the construction of them. TVBC resisted, and have negotiated for just two homes to be offered for Shared Ownership, and this is subject to a planning application for the change of tenure.

You can view the planning application for the change of tenure to shared ownership at the planning website for TVBC: www.testvalley.gov.uk the reference number is 15/02921/OBLS. At the time of writing, the application was under consideration. The parish council objected on the grounds that the requirement for the properties to be for local people in perpetuity should be applied to the shared ownership properties. There are ways that this can be achieved, for example through planning restrictions, or leasehold rather than freehold.

The parish council has no involvement in the ownership or management of the houses. Enquiries should be directed to Hyde Housing Association 02380 838600, Connells 01794 830833, or Test Valley Borough Council for planning matters 01264 368000.

Kate Orange, Clerk to Braishfield Parish Council