Landowners and local planners hold key to ending the rural housing crisis

06 July 2017

Landowners and local planners hold key to ending the rural housing crisis

Nearly two thirds of rural landowners would build new homes to rent or buy if they had more confidence in the attitudes and processes of local planning authorities.

New research from the CLA which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses has revealed that half of members surveyed believe there is a housing crisis in their community, but many are put off developing schemes by a planning system that is perceived to be too complex, risky and inflexible.

More than two fifths of CLA members plan to develop one or two additional properties in the next five years, but 63% said they would build more new homes if there was greater support from the local authority to work through the planning process.

The organisation says giving these small private developers greater certainty and support to navigate the planning system could all but end the acute shortage of housing in rural areas.

CLA President Ross Murray said: “The rural housing challenge we face is to deliver a range of much needed homes which will reinvigorate our rural areas across England and Wales and help to build a stronger, more sustainable countryside.

“Over six million people live in our rural communities. Planning policy must be more positive about the socio-economic benefits that development can bring about, and should focus more on what development is needed to ensure these areas thrive in the future, rather than attempting to restrict settlement growth.

“Incremental growth on a small-scale could make a huge difference to the housing shortage across our villages. A quarter of CLA members wish to build affordable homes and 40% want to build new homes to rent, so it is clear rural landowners have the capacity to meet the housing needs of people who want to live and work in the countryside but who are priced out.

“Without a mix of homes for people who want to live and work in the countryside, rural areas are at risk of becoming only the preserve of commuters, the retired and holiday homes.”

The research was unveiled at the CLA’s first ever Housing Summit on 5 July, where landowners involved in developing homes and managing properties across rural communities met and shared experiences about the challenges and opportunities they face.

A report published at the event, Strong Foundations: meeting rural housing needs, sets out how to ensure the current restrictive planning system does not stop socio-economic growth in rural areas by supporting policies on planning, tax and the development of new private rented housing.

Read the report here