CLA lobbying efforts continue as South East Communications Manager Mike Sims invites the Housing Minister to see what landowners are doing to tackle rural housing shortages.
Earlier this summer the CLA invited Housing Minister Kit Malthouse to visit a CLA member to highlight the efforts landowners are making to help address rural housing shortages. Mark Maclay, an arable farmer with 460 acres in Binley near Andover in Hampshire, is building a small development of houses on his land, for letting at low rates for local people.
Mr Malthouse, whose North West Hampshire constituency covers Binley, visited the Maclays to hear about the private social housing project and how landowners are willing to help reduce housing deficits in rural areas for the benefit of their communities.
Mr Maclay told the Minister that many young people who grew up in the village could not afford to live there, and housing associations cannot provide all of the answers, so he stepped in. It was stressed to Mr Malthouse, however, that barriers and challenges do exist.
Mr Maclay described planning as “a very long, but important, process which could be streamlined, but maybe more planning staff are needed”.
The government has made available £163m across England up to 2020/2021 through the Community Housing Fund. It aims to support supply by increasing the number of homes delivered by the community-led sector, to provide housing that is affordable at local income levels and remains so in perpetuity. But to be eligible for any grant the applicant has to be a ‘registered provider’, which can be a lengthy, legal and expensive process.
Mr Malthouse was urged to look at ways Government can support landowners to encourage more to come forward. The MP said a Green Paper is due later this year looking at accelerated planning, which the CLA will be responding to, and acknowledged how house-building can support villages and their services.