Friday, 25 July 2008 13:47

Minister's pledge on affordable housing

Written by  Ruralcity Media
CAROLINE Flint promises further measures to boost affordable housing.

THE government has pledged to take further measures to boost rural enterprise and affordable housing.

Housing minister Caroline Flint made the pledge following warnings that a major overhaul of affordable housing policy was needed to revitalise rural communities.

{sidebar id=4}She was responding to the long-awaited publication of findings from the Matthew Taylor review into rural economy and rural housing.

The review – commissioned by the Prime Minister – called for a fundamental overhaul of planning policy to breath new life ito countryside communities.

It recommends a new drive to boost rural jobs and community led affordable housing through enterprise hubs, greater home working and neighbourhood extensions to market towns.

It says local people should be helped to provide affordable rural housing in villages and second home ownership should be restricted in national parks.

Ms Flint said the government agreed with the core principles of the report and would take further measures to boost rural enterprise and affordable housing.

Flint: Taylor report will have a lasting impact
She welcomed specific recommendations to ensure that planning policy on economic development better reflected the needs of rural areas.

She also welcomed Mr Taylor’s proposal for positive planning to ensure that larger settlements maximise sustainability and design quality.

But she said the government was yet to be convinced that a restriction of second homes would be either workable or deliver the intended benefits.

There were more innovative ways of providing the affordable housing rural communities needed without limiting the rights of second home owners, said Ms Flint.

Even so, she acknowledged the report would have a lasting impact on policies to help rural communities prosper.

"It's simply not fair that people in rural communities struggle to afford a place of their own.

"I am determined that we do everything we can to further help people in rural communities into home ownership."

This would include helping landowners to establish community land trusts and by ensuring councils deliver the sustainable homes their communities needed.

The government’s existing target is to deliver 10,300 new affordable homes in smaller rural communities of less than 3,000 inhabitants over the next three years.

Ministers will now examine at the report’s recommendations in detail and before publishing a full response later this year.

                  See also:
                                Rural groups welcome housing report (24 July 2008)
                                Shake-up 'vital' for affordable housing (23 July 2008)
                                Campaigners look to housing report (22 July 2008)
                                Brown to propose 'cheap rural homes' (31 March 2008)
                                Government defends record on housing (27 February 2008)
                                Appeal for evidence on rural housing (18 February 2008)
                                Warning over affordable rural homes (23 November 2007)
                                Get tough on second homes, PM told (18 November 2007)
                                Call to boost affordable rural homes (18 October 2007)
                                £10.2bn boost for affordable homes (16 October 2007)
                                Watchdog welcomes housing pledge (13 July 2007)
                                Civil servants debate housing crisis (11 July 2007)
                                Councils 'could provide more homes (3 July 2007)
                                PM Brown says homes are priority (27 June 2007)
                                Pressure builds over rural housing (8 June 2007)

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