Rural Affordable Housing under the spotlight

On Tuesday night, the CPRE (The Campaign for the Protection of rural England) launched their latest report into rural affordable housing at a Parliamentary reception.  Attended by key stakeholders and those with an interest in rural housing, there were a number of speakers including the new Housing Minister Lee Rowley MP.

The report, entitled ‘Unravelling a crisis: the state of rural affordable housing in England’ sets out a number of challenges facing affordable housing in rural areas currently, along with key recommendations to improve the situation.

The findings show that:

  • It would take 89 years to clear the social housing waiting list under the current build rate in rural areas
  • The definition of affordable housing in national planning policy does not enable the delivery of genuinely affordable homes
  • Rural homelessness has increased 40% since 2018/2019
  • As many as half of all Parish Councils in rural England are not covered by Section 157 regulations which generally prevent resale of affordable housing units at market prices or as second homes

Roger Mortlock, the Chief Executive of the CPRE said at the event, they are keen to see the ‘right houses, built in the right places’ to support rural communities.

Recommendations include:

  • Government must redefine the term ‘affordable housing’ so that the cost of new affordable homes for sale or rent are directly linked to average local incomes. Where homes are not linked to average local incomes, they should not be classed as affordable as this obscures the type of housing that is being delivered.
  • Government should show greater support for rural communities using neighbourhood planning and rural exception sites to deliver small scale or housing on the edge of villages in line with locally assessed need.
  • Extend restrictions to all parishes of below 3,000 population as well as larger rural towns where there is particular pressure on the housing stock, in English on resale of affordable housing, so that these houses continue to be used by local workers and not a second homes or holiday lets.

Kerry Booth, RSN Chief Executive attended the launch of the report and welcomed the continued focus on rural housing.

“We must keep talking about the challenges facing those in rural communities in accessing affordable housing, this is not a problem that will go away without targeted action to address the particular circumstances in rural communities.” 

You can read the full report at this link


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