Affordable housing - Commuted Sums funding
There are funds available to build affordable housing in our county, through Commuted Sums.
If you are a registered housing provider, developer, community initiative or other interested party, you may be able to access some of these funds in one of two ways:
Method 1 - put forward your proposal
Put forward your proposal for affordable housing, which details how you'll meet the priorities, including a financial viability appraisal. You should explain why you need the funding, and the benefits it will provide to demonstrate value for money.
Where is funding available?
The table below shows which areas there is funding available for, through Commuted Sums, for affordable housing development. This is specifically for the delivery of affordable housing in the relevant delivery area.
|Area||Affordable housing receipt||Delivery area||Map|
|Central area||Durham City||Former district of Durham area|
|Central area||North East Durham City||Belmont / Sherburn Electoral Division|
|Central area||West Durham City||Deerness Electoral Division|
|County wide||South Durham City||County Durham|
Method 2 - bid to develop a scheme
As we have sites available, we will invite developers to put forward a tender for a scheme that we've put forward as a priority. Currently there are no sites available, but when sites do come available, they will be added to this page.
How to apply
If you have a scheme that meets the criteria, or if you wish to bid for a site, please contact us for an informal discussion, before submitting your application.
For both options, once you've spoken with us, complete and return the Legal information before submitting your form.(also available in PDF format - ). Please refer to our
Information to refer to when submitting a bid
You must refer to these documents when bidding for funding available through commuted sums:
- Sustainable Community Strategy
- Council Plan 2015-2018, available on our Council Plan and service plans page
- Regeneration Statement
- County Durham Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2013 Update, available on our CDP: evidence base (Examination Library Part 1), under Housing (reference H7)
- Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment and Brownfield Site Register
What is commuted sums funding?
The size or scale of any housing development may trigger a need for affordable housing, but on some developments this may not be possible. When this happens, a developer must pay us money in lieu of this affordable housing. This payment is called a commuted sum and it is agreed and secured via a Section 106 Agreement.
Section 106 Agreements are planning obligations or private agreements between local authorities and developers. They can be attached to planning permission to make acceptable, development which would otherwise be unacceptable, in planning terms.
Use of commuted sum funding
We must use this commuted sum payment within an agreed period, usually five years. Any of the money not used within five years has to be returned to the developer.
This commuted sum can be used to develop affordable housing in other areas, including:
- building new housing to rent or sell as affordable housing
- funding the affordable element of supported housing schemes
- buying land for affordable housing
- buying homes to rent or sell as affordable housing
- buying houses offered to the council under the Right of First Refusal, related to the Right to Buy provisions to be let at affordable rent.
1. Meet affordable housing shortfalls
There is a shortfall of affordable homes throughout the county. The table below shows, for each area, the percentage of houses that must be built, once a development exceeds the threshold (either site size or number of housing units).
|Delivery area||% houses||Site size threshold||Housing unit threshold|
|Central Durham||20||0.5 hectares||15|
|North Durham||15||0.5 hectares||15|
|South Durham||10||0.5 hectares||15|
|East Durham||10||0.5 hectares||15|
|West Durham||15||0.5 hectares||15|
To be eligible for commuted sums funding, the proposed scheme must deliver over and above this requirement.
2. Older Persons Accommodation
There's a shortfall in older persons' accommodation across the county. On sites larger than 0.5 hectares, or 15 units, (whichever is greater), 10% of all private or intermediate housing should be suitable for older people. Intermediate housing are homes to both rent and buy, aimed at people who can't afford to buy on the open market, but can afford more than low social housing rents. Examples of housing required for older people are:
- level access flats
- sheltered or extra care accommodation
- a housing product that meets the needs of a multi-generational family built to lifetime homes standard.
A scheme delivering additional affordable older persons' accommodation would be seen as a priority scheme.
3. Rural Housing
There is a shortfall of affordable housing in rural areas. In particular, the rural west of the county, around housing in Teesdale and Weardale. Developments delivering affordable housing in these areas would meet the our priority needs.
- Housing Development and Delivery
- Housing Development and Delivery
- 03000 265 263
Our address is:
- Room 5/122
- County Hall
- County Durham
- United Kingdom
- DH1 5UL