Housing Bill must not ignore rural crisis

12 October 2015

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers, and rural businesses, has warned that the rural housing crisis must not be ignored in the Housing Bill.

The warning comes after the Prime Minister’s announcements today of a series of measures that will be included in the Housing and Planning Bill failed to reference rural areas.

CLA Director of Policy and Advice Christopher Price said: “It is disappointing that today’s announcement focuses on urban-centric measures that will do little to help the needs of rural communities. The housing situation in rural areas is already critical, and the countryside must be kept at the heart of this legislation if it is to ease the current housing crisis for the millions of people living and working in the countryside.

Mr Price commented on the impact of key elements today’s announcement:

On local plans:

“The failure of many planning authorities to adopt a local plan in their area has severely disadvantaged many rural communities and local economies. They are missing out on much-needed development or having inappropriate development forced upon them. Although we welcome legislation to enforce the adoption of local plans, the 2017 deadline is too vague and too far away. Government needs to monitor progress and take action now rather than wait until another deadline is passed." 

On Starter Homes:

"Government must be more realistic about what is affordable and how it will be delivered in rural areas. Allowing Starter Homes to be built instead of rented accommodation will mean those who cannot afford to buy the starter homes will have no accommodation options open to them. Rural areas need a range of housing types, tenures and sizes, and the starter homes requirement creates a new barrier to achieving the balance of housing that is vitally needed in rural areas.” 

On Right to Buy:

“Many rural landowners have invested in their community by making available potential housing land to Housing Associations at a considerable undervalue for the delivery of affordable housing for local people. However with Right to Buy there is little incentive for landowners to keep doing so if these properties will only be reverted to open market housing. The Bill must provide for affordable houses within smaller settlements to be excluded from Right to Buy if we are to avoid a further barrier to tackling the rural housing crisis.”

Click here to see today’s announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-councils-must-deliver-local-plans-for-new-homes-by-2017