A Manifesto for Delivering Thriving Rural Communities Through Affordable Housing

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A Manifesto for Delivering Thriving Rural Communities Through Affordable Housing

Rural Housing Week (1st to 5th July) is an opportunity to focus on the housing challenges facing people living in rural communities.  It is a chance to highlight how we can do things differently and develop lasting solutions to the rural housing crisis which is driven by a combination of low local incomes, high housing costs due to external demand, and a limited affordable housing supply. With affordable housing constituting only 9% in villages compared to 17% in urban areas, the disparity is striking.

We are working in partnership with Connecting Communities in Berkshire and Community Impact Bucks to use Rural Housing Week to publicise this issue so look out for our social media posts.

A New Strategy for Thriving Rural Communities

A-Manifesto-for-Delivering-Thriving-Rural-Communities-Through-Affordable-Housing  is a strategic document developed by a coalition of rural charities and housing associations. It makes several evidence-based recommendations to address the rural housing crisis, focusing on a long-term strategy for scaling up and delivering a national programme of affordable rural house building. Key recommendations include:

  • Housing Needs Requiring local authorities to assess and document the specific housing needs in their rural communities and devise targeted policies and strategies to address them.
  • Enhanced Planning Policy improving national planning policy and guidance in order to accelerate delivery of homes through Rural Exception Sites.
  • Funding for Enablers Establishing an annual fund of approximately £2.6 million to sustain a national network of Rural Housing Enablers.
  • Adapted Homelessness Strategies Adapting homelessness and rough sleeping strategies to rural areas, focusing on prevention and using enhanced data collection to uncover hidden needs.

Affordable rural housing projects, often  small in scale,  yield major benefits, contributing significantly to community investment and economic prosperity. Building just ten such homes can provide a £1.4m economic boost, support 26 local jobs, and secure a net return of around £250k for the Treasury, before considering other local multiplier effects.

By understanding and addressing these challenges, the strategy aims to make the countryside a viable, inclusive, and attractive living option, enriched with opportunities for all.

Collaboration for Impact

Connecting Communities in Berkshire, Community Impact Bucks and Community First Oxfordshire are working together under the banner of the Rural Thames Valley Partnership. By sharing knowledge and resources, we aim to get the most out of our respective rural housing projects  for the rural communities we serve.

 

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