A mix of good quality housing is essential if a community is to evolve in a sustainable way. Affordable rural housing plays a large role in achieving this by providing homes for those who might otherwise be forced to leave their village or town.
If local people could stay in their communities everyone would benefit. Local businesses and services such schools and shops would have more people to use them, helping them to stay open. However, barriers to sustainable development often exist, such as inappropriate use of planning constraints by local planning authorities, the reluctance of communities to understand the need to build a mix of housing and changes made by central Government to housing and planning.
Affordability is the key issue for many people. With the cost of open-market homes increasing due to strong demand compounded by years and years of under-building. Add to this the lower wages for rural workers, and local people wishing to buy or rent are left priced out the of communities they used to call home.
There are clear pressures on rural land available for development. Small-scale developers need to maximise profits and will often look to build as much market housing as they can – sometimes at the expense of the need for affordable housing.
How do we help communities ?
The ACRE Network has been at the forefront of a national movement to create more affordable housing through community led housing, especially through Community Land Trusts (CLTs). CLTs are a return to local communities taking ownership and responsibility for housing local people in an affordable and sustainable way, similar to the origins of housing associations. Both the ACRE Network and the National Community Land Trust Network are actively encouraging government to extend their initial commitment to the Community Housing Fund and also to enable local CLTs to further take the initiative in their local areas.
We also encourage local people to explore a vision for their own future through the process of Community Planning which has been shown to change attitudes on accepting appropriate housing development.
If you’re interested in finding out more