Landowners outline rural housing 'answers'

Rural business leaders have set out five action points they claim will help ease the shortage of affordable homes.

The Country Land and Business Association, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, said it wanted to remind the government not to forget the needs of rural communities.

It said the government must understand that the housing shortage was felt just as keenly in the countryside as it is in towns and cities.

Challenges faced by rural communities should be addressed by the government's Housing White Paper due out later this month, said the CLA.

CLA president Ross Murray said: "We need places for people to live in our villages. We want to support young families, local workers and those in the community who are ready to downsize."

    Action points

The key action points urge the government to:

1. Review the definition of 'sustainable development' with regard to rural communities and villages

2. Ensure provision for NPPF development is properly reflected at local plan and neighbourhood plan levels

3. Implement Local Plan Expert Group recommendations to ensure every area has an up-to-date, effective local plan

4. Strengthen Permitted Development Rights for converting redundant agricultural buildings into much-needed rural homes

5. Encourage landowners to build and manage their own affordable houses

    Affordable housing

The traditional approach of delivering affordable housing in rural communities through housing associations and local authorities was not enough to meet demand, said Mr Murray.

"Landowners have a long history of providing low rent housing in their communities.

"The government should publish guidance to local authorities detailing how effective partnerships between local government and landowners can provide additional affordable housing."

Mr Murray added: "Housing costs are spiralling so providing more houses people can afford is the only way to sustain rural communities for future generations."

Doing so would ensure people had the opportunity to live and work in the countryside.

Ministers must not forget rural areas when they set out their housing policy plan later this month, said Mr Murray.

CLA members provided nearly 40% of all private rented housing in rural areas and many are also local employers.

Mr Murray said: "They are in a unique position to help increase the supply of all housing tenures if the action points below are implemented."


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