Friday, 24 February 2017 12:24

More action needed on rural housing

Written by  Ruralcity Media
More action needed on rural housing

Further action is neeeded to ensure that the government's Housing White Paper delivers for rural areas, an expert has warned.

Jo Lavis, of Rural Housing Solutions, says the general thrust of the paper offers some potentially helpful mechanisms to improve the delivery of rural affordable housing.

But she warns that other measures could unintentionally undermine the expectation that policies should help villages to thrive and provide affordable homes for local people.

A briefing note prepared Rural Housing Solutions looks at the implications of the white paper.

    See also: Government plan to tackle homes shortage

Rural proofing or further amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework are needed to ensure the paper delivers, it says.

The briefing note focuses on four new proposals that will specifically impact on the delivery of rural affordable housing.

It offers suggestions on where measure could be strengthened, particularly through responses to the consultation on amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework.

There are other measures that are also likely to affect delivery of rural affordable homes, it suggests.

All the encouragement for local planning authorities to support development in rural areas and provide opportunities to provide housing to meet local needs is very welcome.

But it warns that these valuable intentions will be undermined if authorities are still precluded from securing affordable housing from sites of less than 10 units in all rural communities.

Consultations on this policy when first mooted and later evidence demonstrate the devastating impact this would have on the ability to develop rural affordable housing, says the paper.

Local authorities and housing associations operating in rural areas cited the dominance of small residential sites in rural areas.

They also cited high levels of affordable housing provided through S106 agreements in rural communities, and the importance of commuted sums to fund rural exception sites.

"Neither does the 10 unit threshold help SME builders," says the paper.

"Without an affordable housing contribution the price of these sites rises, making it harder for these businesses to buy sites.

"In addition, the lack of involvement of a housing association puts pressures on cash flow as it removes a source of committed and timed income."

The full briefing note can be downloaded here.

People in this conversation

  • Guest (Chris Hassall)


    All these proposed changes to planning law are driven by the pressure from developers to be allowed to build lots of open market (ie high profitability) houses, without the constraint of providing the affordable housing that the rural communities actually want.. Certainly the 10-unit threshold should be s****ped but, above all, rural communities should be allowed to control the amount of new housing permitted in their districts, without being over-ruled by the planning inspectorate.

    from Bideford, UK
  • Guest (Colin Clarke)


    From the mid 1980's to 2015 the UK population has increased by approximately 8 million people. This has contributed to needing HS2, extra roads, extra housing and a poorer health service. Funding that may have been available for rural areas has been taken to meet the extra population. In Stamford Bridge housing developments has been forced onto the local residents who already had serious traffic problems. Parts of the country are being bullied into having large housing developments.

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