Monday, 04 September 2017 15:47

'Locals should design rural homes'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
'Locals should design rural homes'

Involving local residents in housing design could increase support for rural affordable homes, say campaigners.

Rural housing specialists Hastoe want the government to renew its White Paper commitment to encourage communities to be more involved in housing design.

The call comes as MPs are set to debate the quality and design of new housing when Parliament returns from Summer Recess.

The debate, which will be led by Efra Committee Chair Neil Parish (MP for Tiverton and Honiton), will consider how to encourage better design of new homes.

    See also: Survey sheds light on housing crisis

Hastoe argues that developers should work with local communities to deliver better high-quality homes for local people.

The group, which owns or manages more than 7,500 homes across the south of rural England, says doing so would increase support for new homes in rural areas.

Hastoe chief executive Sue Chalkley said: "The government’s White Paper published earlier this year explicitly stated the intention for communities to have a more direct say over development in their area.

Years of practice

"We know from years of practice that the most successful developments are those conceived by the community and delivered in partnership with it."

Engagement with local communties could include the number, location and design of new homes.

Ms Chalkley said local residents could help shape how the homes look and are constructed, specifying the use of local materials or reflecting the scale and architectural style of other neighbouring homes.

"This also helps to build popular support for the development and a sense of pride for all involved in the project."

Hastoe says the government should renew its commitment to community engagement by keeping local people at the heart of new rural developments.

It says this should include ensuring continued wide access to the Community Housing Fund – whether the developer is a housing association, local landowner or community land trust.

Housing design

The housing association also argued that as well as community engagement, sustainability must also be an integral aspect of new housing design. 

Ms Chalkley said: "Hastoe specialises in providing affordable rural homes but, for us, the affordability of a home is more than just the rent or mortgage costs.

"Instead affordability should be built into the fabric of a building through highly energy efficient design," she added.

"This commitment to sustainability from the outset can help deliver tangible benefits to residents and to the environment."

"Government should take action to ensure that all new homes are built to these high standards through support for affordable house builders willing to make the necessary investment in innovative approaches to energy efficiency."

People in this conversation

  • Guest (Michael Burt)


    When I was chairman of our local Parish council we criticised several developments by Housing associations, the houses were to small,there were not the facilities necessary to house families (pram and Bike storage was non existent) bedrooms were to small etc. The housing associations accepted our points and said they would come back and talk to us that never happened.
    Unfortunately they are like private developers pack as many houses in as possible.

    from North Dorset District, UK
  • Guest (Vince O'Farrell (Symene CLT))

    In reply to: Guest (Michael Burt) Report

    Gosh, that's a sweeping ****ing of all housing associations, especially in response to what should be seen as a positive and constructive proposal from one of the HAs which has done a lot for affordable housing provision in the South West. I'm sure you could point to specific HA developments which might have been better designed but that is not a reason for rejecting engagement with ideas such as the one being proposed by Hastoe.

  • Guest (Vince O'Farrell (Symene CLT))

    In reply to: Guest (Vince O'Farrell (Symene CLT)) Report

    Oh dear - the swear-word-filter strikes again! Of course, I did not use asterisks - I used the present participle based on the four letter d-word so I presume you can fill in the blanks yourself ;)

  • Guest (Michael Burt)


    Vince O'Farrel
    I cannot see anywhere where I rejected the Idea of engagement. I simply said where it had been promised in the past it had not been followed through.
    Only time will tell if and when this proposal comes to fruition, and if the Housing Associations listen to those that they engage with. The opportunity has always been there for them to do this and they could have initiated this approach.

    from North Dorset District, UK
  • Guest (Derrick)


    As a Chair of a specialist Rural Housing Association within Warwickshire I can only say that ALL of our developments, that have delivered over 500 homes, have been in partnership with local rural communities. The use of stone being a case in point.
    Our latest scheme is to deliver what the Parish Council wanted in terms of energy efficiency - and so we are building to Passive House standards in the very rural village of Wootton Wawen.
    Please do not destroy RSL reputations with one off examples.

    from Solihull, UK
  • Guest (Julie Abbey-Taylor)


    I agree with many of the comments made, rural communities like working with Hastoe because of their attention to detail and design credentials but this does come with a price tag. It doesn't necessarily have to and we are exploring ways to make building homes less costly, however a big challenge is that most planners do not look at what's on the inside of a home in terms of space, layout and facilities. Market & social housing customers need to be more involved on planning homes inside and out.

    from Suffolk, UK

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