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Government funding for community-led affordable housing: CPRE's response

4 January 2017

Government recently announced the details of the new Community Housing Fund – an annual sum of £60million to aid communities that are particularly affected by high levels of second home ownership [1]. The fund aims to empower community groups to drive forward the development of affordable housing aimed at first time buyers. As the region with the highest levels of second home ownership, the South West has been allocated the greatest share of funding, a third of the overall fund.

 

Trinley Walker, policy and research advisor at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), comments:

“This funding will give a real boost to rural communities in need of more affordable housing stock in those areas where second home ownership is most prevalent. It is through this structure, of working with local communities and drawing on their resources, that developments acquire enduring acceptance and support.

“However, while we fully support Government’s provision for genuinely community-led housing, it does not come close to addressing the acute need for more affordable housing in rural areas.”

 

Excessive levels of second home ownership in some popular tourist destinations can price local people out of the housing market.  In addition, where second homes are rarely used, villages and towns can be almost deserted for much of the year, to the detriment of their character, vitality and local economy.  Where second homes are a small minority of properties in a community and more frequently occupied than not, either as a regular getaway or let as holiday accommodation, they can contribute sustainably to the local economy.

The importance of gaining community support for local development was outlined in CPRE’s recently published report on rural affordable housing - On Solid Ground.

 

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