Addressing the rural housing challenge

For Rural Housing Week, CLA Property and Business Policy Adviser Avril Roberts spoke to housing association English Rural who have provided a nine-point resource guide for landowners
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This week is Rural Housing Week, an initiative run by the National Housing Federation to shine a spotlight on the importance of affordable housing providers and highlight the housing crisis in rural areas. Without affordable and accessible housing, the sustainability and vibrancy of rural communities is threatened.

One ambition of the week is to call landowners to action to understand the role they can play to help deliver more housing.

In recognition of the unique position and potential of landowners to make a difference, English Rural, one of the leading rural housing associations in England, has compiled a resource pack designed to inform, inspire, and equip you for action. This includes:

1. A message from Lord Bathurst

Their resource pack begins with a thoughtful cover letter from Lord Bathurst. The Earl offers a poignant reminder of the power that landowners wield in shaping the futures of their communities.

2. The solution lies with landowners

I have written a blog post for English Rural to include in their pack, "Landowners: The Solution for Affordable Rural Housing in England". In this blog I discuss how landowners are uniquely positioned to make a tangible impact on the rural housing challenge.

3. Tackling unique rural challenges

In another article, I delve deeper into the intricacies of rural communities. In particular, the challenges faced during the cost-of-living crisis, "Addressing the Rural Premium: Tackling Unique Housing Challenges in UK’s Rural Communities".

4. Getting media attention for the issue

Following Amazon Prime's popular series, Clarkson's Farm, English Rural wrote about the issue of rural housing for local workforces, highlighting the need for affordable homes for farmworkers.

5. A hands-on guide for landowners

Strutt & Parker's report, "Demystifying Affordable Housing: A Hands-On Guide for Landowners" offers practical advice for landowners interested in exploring the development of affordable rural housing.

6. Learning from experience – one landowner’s case study

An interview with a Kent landowner provides a real-life account of the benefits and challenges of contributing to the affordable housing solution.

7. The role of parish councils

The resource pack also includes a Parish Councillor's guide to affordable rural housing which highlights the key role of parish councils in fostering affordable housing. This may be particularly important for CLA members who often face local opposition to new development.

Do get in touch with English Rural or the CLA if you need advice on engaging with your local Parish Council.

8. Inside the development process

An interview with English Rural's Deputy Development Manager gives valuable insights into the planning, policies, and politics associated with building affordable rural homes.

9. The perspective of young farmers

The final topic covered in the pack for landowners is, the Young Farmers' Guide to Affordable Rural Housing. This guide from the The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) provides a fresh perspective on affordable rural housing from those at the start of their farming careers.

Understanding the challenges and opportunities associated with rural housing is the first step toward making a difference, and these recommendations from English Rural offer a wealth of information for landowners at the start of the process.

Remember, your CLA membership entitles you to free advice, including guidance on planning, letting residential property, and anything else associated with delivering new homes, including tax and legal advice.

If you wish to get in touch with English Rural, they are also on hand to help landowners deliver affordable housing to contribute to the sustainability and vitality of their communities.

Find out more

Watch our rural housing webinar