30/06/2021 - RSN Seminar: Rural Housing

Date: 30th June 2021
Subject: Rural Housing
Chair: Kerry Booth Assistant Chief Executive, Rural Services Network
- To download the Agenda for this seminar click here
- To view the welcome message from the RSN click here
- To download the Learning Outcomes from this seminar click here
- To download the zoom chat associated with this seminar click here
- To view the Attendance and Apologies for this seminar click here


Learning Outcomes:
Examples of Good Practice/Reports/Information

Key Learning Points:

Homes England and the Delivery of Affordable Rural Housing
  • Rural and community-led housing focus has increased, and Homes England has encouraged the government to look at these areas.
  • Homes England is the Government’s housing delivery partner. Need a resilient and diverse housing market and the plan is to build one million homes in this Parliament.
  • Homes England Strategic Plan 2018-2023 sets out the vision to respond to the long-term housing challenges.
  • The Affordable Homes Programme 2021-2026 is the newest investment programme with £7.39 bn available from April 2021 with a mixture of homes for rent and different routes into home ownership.
  • Capital Funding Guide also includes Right to Shared Ownership.
  • New national model for Shared Ownership - Policy Overview - (see Technical Consultation).
  • First explicit rural target – minimum 10% of homes to be delivered in rural areas and in settlements with a population of 3,000 or less. Homes England figures show they have built between 8.5% and 13%. According to a recent Guardian newspaper, 17% of the population lives in rural areas.  Important to increase supply of affordable housing to keep communities thriving.
  • Total investment in rural homes (2019/20) is £67M. Lots of rural areas eligible for social rent and the South has been the predominant place for delivery of affordable homes.
  • Co-ordinated multi-agency response: land & planning; financing and skills & capacity.
  • Case Studies – small schemes of different sizes. Choice of different homes, using local firms. See examples of good practice.
  • Government looking at the S106 and Exception sites levels. MCHLG needs to engage with rural areas and the First Homes policy and are aware that the definition does not cover some areas.
  • Push for Home Ownership from the Secretary of State – government policy

Delivery through Partnership - Rural Affordable Housing in Denbury
  • Development on an exception site of 10 affordable homes in a village near Newton Abbot. Took 6 years to complete with many issues to overcome.
  • A number of Partners committed to the project but also need a team champion to keep the process going.
  • Engagement with the community is key. Need to listen and respond to concerns and understand the housing need.  A community led approach kept the project going.  Devon Communities Together were trusted and independent and supported the Parish Council.
  • Landowner is part of the relationship and often live within the community.
  • Registered Provider – Willow Tree Housing Partnership retention of local skilled workforce and project management.
  • The Local Authority acts as the “middle-man” unlocking problems internally eg planning, interpret LA policy etc.
  • Local Builders who resurfaced local car park for community.
  • Moving Forward and lesson learnt to improve the process: Teignbridge District Council Housing Strategy 2021-2026 “More than bricks and mortar
  • Need to show that you are genuinely responding.
  • South West Housing Association are close to their tenants and showed the community how they would support and give people a voice.
  • Need a mix of ages and need to keep young people in communities.
  • Sometimes there are difficult conversations and sometimes it doesn’t work.

Affordable Rural Homes – More Than Bricks
  • English Rural Housing Association (ERHA) is based in South England. Working in partnership with rural communities to have small affordable schemes.
  • Rural homelessness not looked at. Rough sleeping in Cornwall risen by 21%  but not gone down as it has in urban areas.
  • 2019 survey on employment status found that there were high levels of employment in rural areas but that many of the jobs were part-time or were in self-employment.
  • For almost 60% of those surveyed their average household income was less than £20K
  • 58% of households receive no benefits towards the cost of their rent due to high levels of employment.
  • Number of households experiencing long term ill-health is a growing trend and shows the changes in demography i.e., ageing population. Important to plan for this challenge and the importance of retaining young people in the community to offer support.
  • Smaller numbers in households is another growing trend.
  • Heating/Energy efficiency of homes is an issue with many households not on mains gas. New homes are more efficient and starting to look at retrofits with the aim of getting 90% to EPC C by 2025.
  • Lockdown has shown the vital work of the “unskilled” workforce and they make up just over 32% of the working-age population in rural areas. Housing costs are often higher in rural areas compared to nearby urban areas and the wages are lower.
  • Joint research by RSN, CPRE and ERHA into economic and fiscal case for investing in rural affordable housing undertaken by Pragmatix. Summary and Full report available on the link above.
  • Insecurity of employment has meant that some are pushed into home ownership at low level but with huge responsibilities.
  • #CommunityisWhy on Twitter

Any Other Key Outcomes from the Seminar

Affordable housing is at the heart of all the issues discussed. Need policies that are right for rural areas and not bolt-ons for urban centric policies that have unintended consequences. Need a mixture of tenures for affordable housing to rent as well as to buy.

RSN’s Revitalising Rural Campaign Specific Policy Asks of the Government is for fairer distribution of national resources to rural areas and more nuanced national policies.  There are 14 Chapters in the campaign; and one looks at Availability of Rural Affordable Housing and another at Rural Planning.

As new Government strategies are announced, RSN puts them through a “Rural Lens Review” which adds depth and texture to the Policy Asks. A fresh crosscut of the Revitalising document being worked on will look in more depth at younger and older people, working age families and businesses (includes agri.). It will also look at the impact of various issues on these groups of people and develop case studies (personal experiences) rather than dry policy discussions.

Jo Lavis, Housing SpecialistBriefing Note: Rural Implications of the Government’s response to Changes to the Planning System and the new Shared Ownership model

RSN Spotlight on Rural Housing – July 2021 in partnership with the Rural Housing Alliance.  A quarterly bulletin highlighting current rural housing issues and opportunities.

Rural Housing Alliance launched the Parish Guide to Affordable Rural Housing in July 2021 working in partnership with RSN and National Housing Federation (NHF).

Analysis and Commentary pieces for Rural Services Network by Jessica Sellick, Researcher at Rose Regeneration: Finding a place to call "home": what more can be done to plug the rural housing gap?

RSN Member Insights produced by Dan Worth, Research & Performance Analyst, RSN.  Please click on the link to access the Housing Insights.

Attendance and Apologies


Full Name Organisation
Sarah Adams Wychavon and Malvern Hills District Councils
Bethan Aldridge Rural Services Network
Cllr Paul Anstey Fordingbridge Town Council
Gwenda Beckley Teignbridge District Council
Madeleine Bell Harrogate Borough Council
Jane Berni YMCA Community Lincs
Graham Biggs MBE Rural Services Network
Cllr Jake Bishop Ampthill Town Council
Penny Body Devon Churches Rural Forum
Kerry Bolister Housing Plus Group
Kerry Booth Rural Services Network
Jenna Brame Cambridgeshire ACRE
Cllr Julian Brazil South Hams District Council
Valerie Bunting Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council
Cllr Sheila Burry Clare Town Council
Cllr Raymond Cade Wealden District Council
Cllr Sarah Carney Bridport Town Council
Kieran Carr Cambridgeshire ACRE
Olivia Carr Cambridgeshire ACRE
Cllr Ian Carrington North Kesteven District Council
Keith Chaplin Forest of Dean District Council
Sarah Close Harrogate Borough Council
Robert Cogings Derbyshire Dales District Council
Martin Collett English Rural HA
Justine Cook Westbury Town Council
Vanessa Cookson Bassetlaw District Council
Cllr Sue Cooper South Oxfordshire District Council
Cllr Allan Daniels Allerdale Borough Council
Andy Dean Rural Services Network
Cllr Judith Derbyshire Eden District Council
Matthew Dodd Homes England
Richard Dowson Raising Aspirations Empowering Change Ltd
Cllr Alan Dunn Keswick Town Council
Julie Dyer Westbury Town Council
Shannon English East Suffolk Council
Cllr John Evans Uttlesford District Council
Stuart Francis-Dubois Willow Tree Housing
Stephen Gabriel Wychavon and Malvern Hills District Councils
Brendan Gallagher Lincolnshire County Council
Kirsty Gilby Corsham Town Council
Jo Giles Cadent Ltd
Cllr Jan Goffey Okehampton Town Council
Cllr Richard Good Richmondshire District Council
Carol Grey Penrith Town Council
Robert Grigorjevs Eden District Council
Michael Harris OBE New Forest District Council
Lizzi Hearn CPRE
Cllr Robert Heseltine North Yorkshire County Council
Debbie Holloway Pillar Land Securities
David Inman Rural Services Network
Justin Johnson Rutland County Council
Liz Johnson-Idan Chard Town Council
Helen Johnstone Stroud District Council
Cllr Phil King Harborough District Council
Andrea King Northumberland County Council
Kim Langley West Suffolk Council
Antony Leech West Devon Borough Council
Peter Lock Uttlesford District Council
Ursula Mann Tavistock Town Council
Maureen Margrie Cirencester Housing
Charlotte Mccallister West Suffolk Council
Angie Morrissey Cornwall Rural Housing Association Limited
Richard Mugglestone Midlands Rural Housing
Leigh Palmer Lewes and Eastbourne Councils
Samantha Parkin Moretonhampstead Parish Council
Sue Petters Barnstaple Town Council
Richard Pinnock Mendip District Council
Lee Price West Suffolk Council
Cllr John Redpath Guildford Borough Council
Desi Reed East Suffolk Council
Alex Rehaag West Devon & South Hams Councils
Rebecca Richards Lancaster City Council
Mary Ridgway Teignbridge District Council
Julie Salisbury West Suffolk Council
Kay Sentence Thame CLT
David Siddle East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Laura Smith East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Susan Southwell Somerset West and Taunton Council
Cllr Harry St John West Oxfordshire District Council
Gavin Stonham Guildford Borough Council
Cllr Mike Thompson St Austell Town Council
Sarah Thorneycroft Cornwall Council
Cllr Peter Thornton Cumbria County Council
Cllr John Toye North Norfolk District Council
Michael Tu Arundel Town Council
Cllr Brenda Weston Somerset West and Taunton Council
Cllr Sarah Williams Bridport Town Council
Cllr Marie Williams Uttoxeter Town Council
Cllr Liz Withington North Norfolk District Council
Helen Wood South East Water
Cllr David Worden North Devon Council
Cllr Julie Yelland West Devon Borough Council


Full Name


Tom Ashton

East Lindsey District Council

Cllr Philip Atkins

Staffordshire County Council

Cllr Tim Ball

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Roz Barnett

Saxmundham Town Council

Ursula Bennion

Trent & Dove Housing

Cllr Paul Bishop

Clare Town Council

Debbie Bond

Edenbridge Town Council

James Brewer

Isle of Wight Council

Cllr Alan Burgis

Camelford Town Council

Murry Burnett

West Oxfordshire District Council

Cllr Sarah Butikofer

North Norfolk District Council

Jo Calvert

South Somerset District Council

Esther Carter

Sedgemoor District Council

Frank Cracknell

West Suffolk Council

Cllr Donald Davies

North Somerset Council

Susan Deacon

Stroud District Council

Jackie Deane

Great Dunmow Town Council

Julie Debbage

Leominster Town Council

Mark Dow

West Sussex County Council

Cllr Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

Hexham Town Council

Rachael Fullwood

Lincolnshire Rural Housing Association

Cllr Margaret Godwin

Clare Town Council

Andy Haime

Lincolnshire Rural HA Ltd

David Hall

Northumberland County Council

Cllr Paul Harris

Gillingham Town Council

Sarah Harris

Westbury Town Council

Connor Harrison

Hambleton District Council

Duncan Harvey

Sedgemoor District Council

Nik Harwood

Young Somerset

Cllr Joanna Hewitt

Sandy Town Council

Cllr Claire Hodson

Torridge District Council

Bryn Howells

Tewkesbury Borough Council

Nicola Kemp

Somerset West and Taunton Council

Rev Richard Kirlew

The Agricultural Chaplains Association

Paul Leadbetter

Charnock Richard Parish Council

Cllr Petrina Lees

Uttlesford District Council

Toby Matthews

Norfolk County Council

Madeleine McGarvie

South Cambridgeshire District Council

Conrad Moore

Stroud District Council

Janet Neale

Warwickshire County Council

Elspeth Pooley

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Pam Posnett

Leicestershire County Council

Cllr Barry Ratcliffe

West Devon Borough Council

Cllr Richard Sherras

Ribble Valley Borough Council

Liz Small

North Yorkshire County Council

Ann Stewart

North Yorkshire County Council

Pippa Stroud

Stroud District Council

Dez Tanser

North Northamptonshire Council

Karen Tarburton

Harworth and Bircotes Town Council

Amy Thomas

Lincolnshire County Council

Paul Thomas

Isle of Wight Council

Nadine Trout

Rural Services Network

Cllr Adrian Watney

Bovingdon Parish Council

Cllr Mark Winnington

Staffordshire County Council

Rebekah Wood

Sedgemoor District Council


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