Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), CCB’s national body, has shared their Housing Position Paper, demonstrating support for ‘appropriate’ development of affordable housing in rural communities across England. At a time when the availability of housing plays a central role in sustaining villages and small market towns, ACRE wants to see the Government take the necessary steps to ensure that national and local plans are rural-proofed.
In the paper, ACRE sets our 4 key asks for the Government and other national policy makers to raise national attention for rurally specific matters. By sharing this paper during ‘Party Conference Season’ ACRE is asking all parties to support further investment in technical support, so that communities can be empowered to share the responsibility for meeting their own local housing needs. ACRE wishes to see continued encouragement for communities to develop Neighbourhood Development Plans and promote proactive engagement in local planning processes. The position paper sets out a need for capital grant funding to build genuinely affordable homes in rural areas, recognising the higher costs of developing these homes. Finally to ensure that affordable rural housing remains affordable in perpetuity, ACRE asks for a protection from the Right to Buy in rural areas.
The 38 members of the ACRE Network remain committed to supporting rural communities through times of change, as they have done over the past 90 years. Each Network member provides a local point of contact for communities wishing to identify local need and consider any appropriate action that may need to be taken. This could include signposting communities so that they can bring in other partners to best benefit their local area. In turn ACRE uses these ‘grassroot’ contacts to collate information and evidence which can then influence policy and other strategic decisions – ensuring that there is a rural voice in national debate.
During #RuralHousingWeek, earlier this year ACRE signed up as a supportive partner to the National Housing Federations Rural Housing 5* Plan. This plan challenged the sector to increase delivery of rural housing and continue to contribute to a living and working countryside. It is hoped that by sharing the ACRE position paper today it can serve as an opportunity to continue promoting the importance of appropriate development in rural areas, involving local residents at every step of the process.