An innovative affordable housing scheme in the New Forest has been shortlisted in the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2017.

The RTPI Awards are considered the most established and respected awards in the UK planning industry. Running for 40 years, they celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.

Being shortlisted in the Excellence in Planning to Deliver Housing category recognises the success of the New Forest National Park Authority’s (NFNPA) scheme to build and let two affordable homes to local families in Bransgore.

Around 80 people are on the council waiting list in the Bransgore area alone, and the New Forest housing market makes it difficult for many local people to find affordable homes to allow them to stay in the area, says the NFNPA.

The land at Ringwood Road was provided on a 999 year lease by local landowner Richard Frampton, who is a National Park Authority member, specifically for affordable housing.

A first for a National Park, the Authority had to set up a new legal framework to allow it to construct the homes and become a landlord.

Executive Director of Strategy and Planning Steve Avery said: ‘We are pleased that our pioneering scheme to provide much-needed affordable housing in the New Forest has been recognised in this way.

‘We worked closely with New Forest District Council’s housing team to find suitable tenants who had a local connection and set the rent at an affordable level, so it’s been pleasing to see the tenants settle in so well over the last six months.

‘Special thanks must go to Richard for donating the land which has enabled us to pioneer this new approach to delivering small scale affordable housing schemes in the National Park.’

Stephen Wilkinson, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute said: ‘The finalists represent some outstanding contributions to planning which are making a positive impact for the community and environment. The judges will find it difficult choosing the winners given the high calibre of entries this year.’

This year saw a nearly 40 per cent increase in entrants and the judges have shortlisted 90 finalists across 14 categories with an overall winner awarded the Silver Jubilee Cup. The winners will be announced during a ceremony held at Milton Court at The Barbican, London on 15 June 2017