Advice on tackling rural housing crisis

Parish councils are to get advice on tackling the rural housing crisis with the launch of a new national guide.

The guide, aimed at parish councils across England, promotes the benefit of affordable rural housing developments and the role that local community groups, like the parish council can play in their delivery.

The guide opens with a call to action from HRH The Princess Royal, a longstanding advocate of affordable rural housing, encouraging parish councils to take the lead in tackling the affordable housing crisis facing the countryside.

The need from local people for affordable rural housing continues to increase as demand for rural living soars, with greater access to the countryside, low levels of development and migration from high income urban households all major causes.

Low income families living in rural areas now face a difficult future, often having to move, leaving support and employment networks behind them.

Recent analysis found that in 90% of rural areas, property prices were on average eight times local incomes. This unsustainable affordability gap is destabilising many villages, driving out low income households and starving local services of employees and customers.

Rising to the challenge of this national crisis requires strong local input and leadership.

There is no simple answer, but the freshly launched guide provides the building blocks to identify and tackle the housing needs at a local level. Ensuring that the problem is fully understood and the solution tailored to local circumstances.

Peter Moore, Chair of the Rural Housing Alliance said: “The importance of this problem should not be underestimated.

“This is not a new crisis, but one that continues to get worse. Many rural communities are approaching a watershed moment where, if nothing is done, longstanding local families, businesses and cultures will disappear, damaging the very way of life that makes our villages so appealing.

Developments of affordable rural homes help to achieve this balance and diversity.”