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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.

AreaAffordable housing receiptDelivery areaMap
Central areaDurham CityFormer district of Durham area Icon for pdf Map of former District of Durham area (PDF, 897.9kb)
Central areaNorth East Durham CityBelmont / Sherburn Electoral Division  Icon for pdf Map of Belmont and Sherburn electoral division (PDF, 615.8kb)
Central areaWest Durham CityDeerness Electoral Division Icon for pdf Map of Deerness electoral division (PDF, 495.5kb)
County wideSouth Durham CityCounty Durham Icon for pdf Map of County Durham (PDF, 571.4kb)

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  Icon for word Commuted sums funding bid form (DOC, 41.4kb)  (also available in PDF format -  Icon for pdf Commuted sums funding bid form (PDF, 327.5kb) ). Please refer to our Legal information before submitting your form.

Information to refer to when submitting a bid

You must refer to these documents when bidding for funding available through commuted sums:

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.

Priorities for commuted sums spending

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% housesSite size thresholdHousing unit threshold
Central Durham200.5 hectares15
North Durham150.5 hectares15
South Durham100.5 hectares15
East Durham100.5 hectares15
West Durham150.5 hectares15

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:

  • bungalows
  • 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.

Contact us
Housing Development and Delivery
03000 265 263
Our address is:
  • Room 5/122
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UL
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