Rural Affordable Housing

Rural Housing Enabling Service

CFO is delighted to offer this new service, funded by Defra via Action with Communities in Rural England.

We can support communities who want to deliver affordable housing for their residents, working to identify local housing need, find a suitable site, get a planning permission and build the homes. We also have funding for a number of housing needs surveys – the first step for communities wanting to deliver affordable housing.


In Oxfordshire’s rural communities, the market for housing has become divorced from local people and their incomes. With a shrinking stock of social housing, those unable to access homeownership have to turn to the private rented sector, where costs are high and tenancies insecure. With more intense competition for these homes, young people and families are priced out of rural communities entirely – forced to move away from friends, families, and jobs. Many rural communities struggle to fill vacancies and many communities struggle to maintain services such as local schools, pubs, and shops. A lack of affordable homes threatens the social fabric of rural life.

However, if communities can identify a site that may not usually get planning permission but could be utilised for affordable housing to meet local needs (known as a Rural Exception site) this can allow small rural housing schemes to be delivered at a reduced land cost. The new homes will be prioritised for those with a strong local connection to the area.

To find out more about how CFO can help your community deliver local affordable housing please contact Fiona .

For non-Oxfordshire communities, CFO is also pleased to offer a Housing Needs Survey Service. We can help your community better understand the specific housing requirements of your residents and be the first step on a journey to new affordable homes. Please email for more information.



Community First were appointed to assist with a survey to determine the likely need for affordable housing and the type of such housing. Despite the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic the data received was inputted promptly and the report provided was thorough, easily understood and flowed logically. We were kept informed of progress throughout and the report was delivered ahead of the agreed schedule.

Wokingham Area Housing Society

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