Ministers must exempt rural communities from debilitating Right to Buy proposals, says CLA

01 September 2015

Rural settlements of under 3,000 population must be exempt from proposals to extend Right to Buy to Housing Association tenants if the rural housing crisis is to be resolved.

This was the message expressed by the CLA in its response to the Parliamentary consultation on the future of Housing Associations.

CLA Chief Surveyor Andrew Shirley said: “The housing situation in rural areas is already critical. Extending Right to Buy to Housing Association tenants in rural areas will only exacerbate what is already a debilitating issue for rural communities by reducing the small number of affordable properties already available whilst deterring more land coming forward for new rural housing schemes.

“Many rural landowners have previously sold potential housing land to Housing Associations at a considerable undervalue for the purpose of delivering affordable housing. However there is little incentive for landowners to keep doing so if these properties will only be reverted to open market housing under the Right to Buy.”

In addition CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, is calling for alternative measures in the planning system to deliver affordable rural housing.

Mr Shirley said: “In order to retain and deliver new homes that are desperately needed in rural areas, Local Authorities must instead be empowered through detailed Government guidance to be more proactive in encouraging new approaches to the delivery of rural housing outside the existing Housing Association model but in consultation with local communities.”