Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

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Affordable rural housing

CPRE view

It is well known that there is a housing crisis in England, with large numbers of people across the country are struggling to find affordable places to live. However, the scale of the crisis in rural areas is commonly overlooked – with most discussion focusing on how a lack of affordable houses affects our biggest towns and cities. In fact, the cost of living and house prices are often higher in rural areas, with average house prices being more than 8 times higher than average incomes in over 90% of rural local authorities.

Government policies are tend to be designed with larger towns and cities in mind, and so often fail to tackle the problems faced by rural communities. We need policies that take account of the specific contexts of rural areas and to provide genuinely affordable housing that rural communities so desperately need.

Impacts on people and communities

England’s villages are facing a hidden crisis, as the lack of affordable homes is having a devastating effect on the social fabric of rural life. The average age in rural communities is rising as young people and families are priced out of their local area and forced to move away from their family and friends, while rural services like post offices, pubs and shops are closing down in huge numbers.

This is a far cry from the thriving rural communities we wish to see. If the countryside is going to be a flourishing and diverse place to live, then the provision of affordable housing should be of the highest priority. 

CPRE and affordable rural housing

CPRE is increasing its focus on affordable housing in rural areas, in which we will look to address some of the causal factors as well as promote rurally specific solutions.

Recent research by CPRE and the housing charity Shelter exposed the widespread use of a loophole in the planning system used by developers to renege on their commitment to deliver affordable homes. We are calling for reform of planning rules to close this loophole.

We have also identified a range of solutions to increase affordable housing in rural areas – including better funding and guidance, incentives to identify suitable sites, and rural exemptions from national policies which restrict rural affordable housing. A recent ‘Housing Foresight’ paper by CPRE looks at the crucial role landowners can play in helping to fix the rural affordable housing crisis, by investing in housing to benefit their communities.

 

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