Working together to protect housing in rural communities

12/04/2016
A consortium of peers and rural housing groups including the CLA, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Hastoe Housing Group are arguing for a series of measures to be added to the Housing and Planning Bill to help protect the balance of tenures, types and the affordability of housing in rural communities.

The Bill will continue its passage of detailed scrutiny in the House of Lords this
week, debating of a suite of amendments supported by the coalition of rural
groups. These amendments include:


~ Excluding Starter Homes from Rural Exception Sites to ensure housing on these sites remain affordable for the local community in perpetuity;

~ Exempting rural areas from the levy on the forced sale of council homes which could lead to particularly damaging losses where council homes are particularly scarce, valuable, and hard to replace; and

~ Ensuring that any grant paid for the Right to Buy in rural areas is used for a direct, like-for-like replacement of the properties in the same area.

CLA President Ross Murray said: “The challenge of delivering much needed housing in our rural areas is different to that in our towns and cities. We support Government’s ambition to boost homeownership, but the legislation in its current form could put delivery of rural homes and the vibrancy of our
countryside at risk.


“Rural communities need a variety of housing types, tenures and sizes, so allowing Starter Homes to be built instead of rented accommodation will mean those who cannot afford to buy a property will have no accommodation options open to them.

“Similarly, Ministers are yet to indicate where properties replacing those sold under the Right to Buy will be built. Government must be clear that that any replacement property is built like-for-like and in the same area to ensure the continued vibrancy of our rural communities.”

Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said: “The proposals set out in the Government’s bill will not help the people in rural communities who need genuinely affordable homes. Starter homes are beyond the means of most young people in the countryside, and will do little to prevent families from being forced out of their communities because they cannot afford to stay there.

“Vibrant communities are essential to rural life, and to support these communities we must provide a mixture of housing types that also cater for those who cannot or do not want to buy their own home.”

Sue Chalkley, Chief Executive of Hastoe Group, said: “People
in rural areas face particular difficulties in accessing an affordable home,
with low local incomes, and high property values. The growing affordability gap
means young people and families are being priced out of their local rural
communities.

“We strongly support the government’s drive to develop more new homes. However, we are concerned that several of the Government’s proposals including the replacement of genuinely affordable homes with unaffordable starter homes, the forced sale of council homes and the lack of a guarantee that homes sold through the extension of the Right to Buy will be replaced, will exacerbate the shortage of affordable homes in rural communities.

“We hope that the Government recognises the need to protect badly needed affordable homes in rural communities and accepts the amendments put forward today by peers across the House.”

MEDIA CONTACTS:

For further information and interviews:

Emma Hislop, CLA, 020 7460 7911 or Emma.Hislop@cla.org.uk

Benjamin Halfpenny, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), 020 7981 2819 or benjaminh@cpre.org.uk

Tom Platt, Hastoe Housing Group, 020 8973 0437 or tplatt@hastoe.com

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. The consortium of rural groups anisations
    that have come together to raise awareness of the rural impacts of parts
    of the Housing and Planning Bill. The rural organisation that make up this
    group are:

CLA (Country Land & Business Association)

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)

Hastoe Housing Group

Rural Services Network

Campaign for National Parks

National Parks England

Action with Communities in Rural England

National Association of Local Councils

Local Government Association

Rural Housing Enabler, Community Council for Berkshire

Rural Housing Alliance

Lincolnshire Rural Housing Association

Falcon Rural Housing Association

  1. Rural Exception sites are sites for
    affordable housing development in rural locations where market
    housing would not normally be acceptable because of planning policy
    constraints.
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