Homes people can afford2024-05-15T14:58:55+00:00

Homes people can afford

The sustainability of rural community life depends on the availability of homes people can afford. We help rural communities to plan for their future by securing development that meets their needs.

People make communities. And vibrant communities undoubtedly make better places to live. But without affordable housing, rural communities are at risk of losing people who live and work there, who sustain local services, and who volunteer their time to help others. In the long run, this will lead to a countryside characterised by exclusive, ageing, and lifeless settlements.

There is an urgent need to secure a change of government policy to one that encourages and supports rural communities to embrace growth and secure the homes people need locally, especially for younger generations who often have no choice but to move away.

New homes must also strike a balance between retaining the unique character of rural places whilst being fit for the future. With enormous environmental challenges ahead, these homes must be well insulated and make the most of low carbon technologies wherever possible to contribute to carbon net zero efforts.

Members of the ACRE Network have championed the need for affordable housing in rural areas for over thirty years. Many of our members provide independent advice to enable rural communities to take the lead on developing local affordable housing schemes.

Rural Housing Enablers (RHEs) are key to achieving the small schemes that are now, in many villages, the only source of affordable rented housing in the village. We are thankful to Defra for funding a £2.5m programme which is currently helping us to rebuild a network of RHEs across England.

We are calling on government to ensure that every rural community, including those in protected landscapes, can secure the housing it needs to thrive. This requires a mix of changes to planning policy, taxation and government subsidy that makes smaller community-led developments more viable and deliver a greater proportion of genuinely affordable homes that are available to people who live and work locally.

Of immediate concern to us is the continuation of funding for the Rural Housing Enabler Programme which currently lasts until March 2025. Whilst good progress has been made in terms of recruiting people with the skills and expertise necessary for supporting rural housing projects, they need time to build relationships locally and be there as allies of communities for the stay of schemes which may take time to come to fruition.

View our specific policy recommendations for the next government here.

ACRE Network Case Study – Roxwell Affordable Homes Scheme, Essex

Find out how the community of Roxwell worked with the Rural Community Council of Essex to build affordable homes for people with a connection to the local area.

Publications and resources