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Rural housing: Joseph’s experience

The bustling Market Square in Romsey, Hampshire
Peter Lane / Alamy Stock Photo

Based in Romsey, Hampshire, 23-year-old Joseph finds rural housing difficult to access.

He argues that houses built locally are out of the price range of the average dweller so there is constant competition for the few affordable homes that are available. In his experience, renting has been expensive – at times taking up more than a third of his salary, which makes saving whilst paying bills exceptionally challenging. On top of that, he has faced issues with persistent damp as a renter, which poses a risk to his health and well-being.

‘One of the reasons that locals move out and don’t come back is because they can’t afford to stay,’ he tells us.

For him, an invaluable element of living in a rural area is being close to nature and enjoying the tranquillity it provides: ‘It is important to me that I can leave my house and be in the countryside on foot within 15 minutes. I love the escape from traffic, chatter, screens, and everything man-made.’

However, that serenity is put at risk when large developments are approved in small villages: ‘Where I grew up in Kent, a 2,000-house development has been proposed, which has led my parents to consider moving away after living there for 25 years.’

Joseph believes that new housing should be planned with existing infrastructure in mind in a way that fits in with the local area and benefits the community. His ideal countryside skyline features more small cottages made from local materials and fewer high-rise flats and executive homes.

To make this vision a reality, he is calling for the government to improve the current stock of affordable housing and build more where it is needed following a brownfield-first approach.

Join our campaign

Everyone has a right to a home they can afford to live in. Our rural affordable housing campaign is calling for a new generation of genuinely affordable housing, to revitalise rural communities and ensure everyone has access to a good quality and affordable home. To get involved, join our campaign.