Survey sheds light on housing crisis

LACK of confidence in local planning authorities is perpetuating the rural housing crisis, suggests a study.

Developments NEARLY two thirds of rural landowners would build new homes to rent or buy if they had more confidence in local planning authorities, it says.

Half of landowners believe there is a housing crisis in their community, according to research by the Country Land and Business Association.

But many are put off developing schemes by a planning system that is perceived to be too complex, risky and inflexible.

    See also: Network voices 'great concern' over housing

More than two fifths of CLA members plan to develop one or two additional properties in the next five years, according to the survey

But 63% said they would build more new homes if there was greater support from the local authority to work through the planning process.

The CLA says giving these small private developers greater certainty and support to navigate the planning system could all but end the acute shortage of housing in rural areas.

CLA president Ross Murray said: "The rural housing challenge we face is to deliver a range of much needed homes which will reinvigorate our rural areas."

Over six million people lived in rural communities, said Mr Murray.


He added: "Planning policy must be more positive about the socio-economic benefits that development can bring about, and should focus more on what development is needed to ensure these areas thrive in the future, rather than attempting to restrict settlement growth.

"Incremental growth on a small-scale could make a huge difference to the housing shortage across our villages."

A quarter of CLA members wish to build affordable homes, according to the survey, and 40% want to build new homes to rent.

Mr Murray said: "It is clear rural landowners have the capacity to meet the housing needs of people who want to live and work in the countryside but who are priced out.

Mix of homes

"Without a mix of homes for people who want to live and work in the countryside, rural areas are at risk of becoming only the preserve of commuters, the retired and holiday homes."

The research was unveiled at the CLA's first ever Housing Summit on Wednesday (5 July).

The event brought together landowners involved in developing homes and managing properties across rural communities.

A report published at the event, Strong Foundations: meeting rural housing needs, sets out how to ensure the planning system does not stop socio-economic growth.

It calls for more supportive policies on planning, tax and the development of new private rented housing.


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