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Network supports rural housing plan

The Rural Services Network is backing a five-star plan to increase the delivery of affordable housing in the countryside.

Developed by the National Housing Federation in consultation with housing associations, the plan is being launched during Rural Housing Week (3-7 July).

The aim of the week is to highlight rural housing issues and to showcase how housing associations are supporting rural communities by providing affordable housing.

The five-star plan challenges the sector to increase the delivery of rural housing and continue to contribute to a living and working countryside.

It will be officially launched at the Rural Housing Conference on Friday, 7 July.

The plan – also supported by the Rural Housing Alliance – focuses on delivering quality homes that meet local needs through partnerships with rural communities and landowners.

It pledges that housing associations will:

* Work with and for rural communities, in accordance with a Rural Alliance pledge
* Increase the current level of housing supply in rural communities by 6% per year for each of the next five years
* Bid for at least 10% of Homes and Communities Agency investment to deliver new homes in rural areas
* Ensure that homes delivered benefit the local economy, including the farming and food economy
* Meet the needs of rural communities and contribute towards five key tenures, as appropriate – homes for affordable rent, market rent, affordable home ownership, self-build and market sale.

Rural Services Network director Andy Dean said the network fully endorsed the five-star plan – and urged other organisations to do the same.

The delivery of more affordable homes was of "critical importance" in sustaining countryside communities and supporting the local economy, said Mr Dean.

The National Housing Federation has warned that it is a challenge to ensure that rural communities receive a fair share of the housing association's sector’s investment and activity.

Held in central London, the Rural Housing Conference will focus on ways rural housing associations can increase the supply of homes in rural communities.

The conference will explore the rural housing five-star plan that demonstrates the ambition of housing associations to contribute to a living, working countryside.

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