New rural housing guide launched: a practical toolkit for villages

Following the launch of the new ‘Rural Housing Good Design Guide’, the CLA’s Avril Roberts explains how it can be a valuable blueprint for rural communities
village houses building
Only 8% of rural housing stock is classed as ‘affordable’ compared to 19% in urban areas

Today, 5 July, a new publication has been launched as part of an initiative to transform the perception of rural housing. ‘A Design Guide: Building Tomorrow’s Rural Communities’ aims to promote the fact that new rural housing can be sustainable, beautiful, and affordable.

The CLA sat on the steering group for this important piece of work, which has been launched at the end of Rural Housing Week 2024.

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The guide features a foreword by HRH The Princess Royal and illustrations by author and architectural illustrator Matthew Rice. It includes a practical toolkit for villages looking to inform the design of new homes in their community. The CLA hopes that members will be able to use this guide as a starting point in discussions about delivering new rural housing.

The guide focuses on five key areas of good rural design for housing:

  • The future of rural communities
  • The importance of well-designed homes
  • The village landscape
  • Designing with tradition
  • Building towards tomorrow

These five areas make the guide accessible to all areas of the country and can be adapted to suit the needs of individual communities.

Too often, a history of poorly designed homes or a perception that new homes are going to be a blight on our countryside can lead to objections to new developments. If local developers use this guide to engage with communities and challenge those perceptions, communities can feel confident that the homes built will embrace good design principles, and hopefully turn objections into support.

Backing for new developments in rural areas is desperately needed. Rural house prices have grown an astonishing 29% over the past five years which has far outpaced the growth of rural wages. This has widened the affordability gap in the countryside, yet only 8% of rural housing stock is classed as ‘affordable’ compared to 19% in urban areas.

The CLA understands that members want to see more rural housing built, especially homes that are reasonably priced, which is why we will continue to lobby for ‘affordable homes for every community’ as part of our six missions for the next government.

Rural Powerhouse

Read the CLA's ‘mission’ for housing here

Key contact:

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Avril Roberts Senior Property and Business Policy Adviser, London