Tuesday, 20 June 2017 10:36

Queen's Speech 'must deliver rural homes'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Queen's Speech 'must deliver rural homes'

CAMPAIGNERS are calling on the government to "unlock" land to provide more affordable rural homes.

The Hastoe Group, which owns and manages over 7,500 homes across southern England, wants ministers to bring forward a Housing Bill to boost the number of homes in rural communities.

IT made the plea ahead of the Queen's Speech on Wednesday (21 June).

Hastoe Group chief executive Sue Chalkley said: "Government must use this opportunity to empower rural communities to build more homes and ensure the continued sustainability of their communities.

    See also: Rural people 'support more homes'

"This may mean incentivising rural landowners to bring forward more land through simplifying the interplay of taxes when land is made available for affordable housing, but it should also be coupled with support for landowners as they work with their local communities.

Hastoe says years of experience have shown that the most successful developments are those conceived and delivered in close consultation with the local community.

It says these sorts of homes produced are a source of pride to all involved.

"To ensure we can build as many new community-led homes as possible it is vital that wide access to the Community Housing Fund is maintained, recognising that housing associations and rural landowners can be an important part of the solution over the long term.

"Now is also the time to confirm that rural communities are fully exempt from the voluntary Right to Buy for housing associations.

"The number of truly affordable homes in our villages is already too low and we cannot afford to lose more, especially as there is no guarantee that an affordable home lost to the open market will be replaced in the same community.

"The government must act now, as the fear of the Right to Buy is already deterring rural landowners from bringing forward important rural exception sites for affordable homes."

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