By Philip Vincent, ACRE
Over two thirds of rural communities in England may not be able to secure any new affordable houses in the future, a coalition of organisations, led by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), has warned.
We are deeply concerned that the government is looking to water down requirements to provide affordable housing – a change that will disproportionately disadvantage many living in the countryside.
For many years, affordable homes could be built in rural communities using two planning policies – as a requirement on open market developments and rural exception sites. However, these mechanisms could be lost because of changes proposed to the current planning system. Such a move would be catastrophic for smaller villages where property prices are already well beyond the reach of many households.
The change is in contradiction to the Prime Minister’s pledge to ‘give the people of this country the homes we need in the places we want to live, at prices we can afford’ as expressed in the Planning White Paper.
ACRE’s Chair, David Emerson CBE said, “We are deeply concerned the government is looking to water down requirements to provide affordable housing – a change that will disproportionately disadvantage many living in the countryside. For communities already struggling to retain the employees and owners of local businesses this is a body blow, quite apart from its impact on the customers and providers of local services and the volunteers who provide the social support for vulnerable residents”.
Rural communities in England already suffer a chronic and acute shortage of affordable homes to buy and rent. Someone living in the countryside on low earnings needs to spend nine times their income to buy a home in the lower end of the market. Only 8% of the housing stock is social housing, compared with 19% in urban areas. And last year, fewer than 6,000 new affordable homes were built in smaller rural communities – equivalent to less than one new affordable home in each village. To read the rest of this article from ACRE please click here.