Our Research

✅ Over 80% of Rural Councils Overlook Vital Affordable Housing Resource

Only a fraction of rural local planning authorities (17%) have made use of Rural Exception Sites, a mechanism introduced to boost the supply of affordable housing in rural areas, according to new research by University College London (UCL) on behalf of the Rural Housing Network1.

Rural Exception Sites were introduced in 1991 to enable the development of affordable homes on underdeveloped land that would otherwise be restricted for residential development. The sites have the potential to provide much-needed affordable housing amidst the escalating rural housing crisis. In 2022 rural rough sleeping increased2 by 24% and 300,000 people were on rural social housing waiting lists3.

Out of 145 rural local authorities, only 25 used Rural Exception Sites to deliver affordable homes between 2021 and 2022, resulting in 546 homes being built. However, nearly 3,000 affordable homes could have been developed if the vast majority of rural councils had utilised rural expectation sites in the time period, presenting a massive, missed opportunity4.

✅ Unlocking the “Magic Ingredient”: How Rural Exception Sites Could Be the Game-Changer for Affordable Housing in the English Countryside

The allure of the English countryside — its rolling hills, charming villages, and robust community spirit — is undeniable. However, a growing crisis threatens this idyllic vision: the affordable housing crisis. A new study by University College London (UCL) and English Rural illuminates the gravity of the situation and offers a viable solution — Rural Exception Sites (RES).

✅ A Deep Dive into the NFYFC’s Sustainable Futures Report 2023

The recently published Sustainable Futures Report 2023 by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) serves as a comprehensive guide to the pressing issues we face today. From climate change to community engagement, the report covers it all. However, one issue that stands out is the growing concern around affordable housing—especially in rural areas. This blog post aims to summarise key points of the report and delve deeper into the housing challenges and proposed solutions.

✅ Today’s Unveiling: A Critical Look at England’s Rural Housing Crisis

CPRE – The Countryside Charity (CPRE) has released its report, ‘Unravelling a crisis: the state of rural affordable housing in England’, we stand at the cusp of its official launch at the House of Lords. We aim to highlight the stark statistics from the report and the inspiring stories of Pauline and Gordon, English Rural residents, whose lives were transformed by affordable rural housing.

✅ Unveiling Solutions: Tackling Rural Rough Sleeping at the Local Level

In our mission to tackle rural homelessness, a frequently overshadowed issue, last year’s publication of groundbreaking research by the Universities of Kent and Southampton marked a significant turning point. This study uncovered the complexities of rural homelessness, paving the way for an in-depth exploration of practical solutions.

Since this research’s release, our focus has shifted from simply understanding the issue to actively seeking solutions to end rural homelessness for good. In collaboration with the Local Government Association (LGA) and local authorities throughout England, we’ve embarked on a journey to unearth what works in combating rural rough sleeping. This exploration has uncovered a variety of challenges and innovative approaches in rural settings to eradicate rough sleeping once and for all.

The fruit of this collaboration is a concise 🔗 report, emerging from a series of workshops with local authorities.

✅ Shocking Report Reveals a Growing, Invisible Homelessness Crisis in Our Countryside

A shocking report commissioned by English Rural reveals a hidden homelessness crisis in rural areas, intensified by high housing costs and inadequate funding. Researchers from the University of Kent and the University of Southampton found that 91% of rural respondents witnessed a rise in homelessness over the past five years. The study exposes the vulnerability of homeless individuals in rural areas due to isolation, limited transportation, and lack of support. A coalition of rural advocates is calling for improved processes for counting rural homelessness, new support services, and increased investment in rural social housing.

✅ Investing In Affordable Rural Housing Will ‘Level Up’ And Turbo-Charge The Rural Economy

New research from English Rural, CPRE – The Countryside Charity, and the Rural Services Network indicates that investing in affordable rural housing can significantly boost the economy and help address homelessness. Rural homelessness has more than doubled in the past two years, and the lack of affordable housing exacerbates the problem. The study by Pragmatix Advisory reveals that for every 10 new affordable homes built, the economy will gain £1.4 million, create 26 jobs, and generate £250,000 in government revenue. However, potential changes to the planning system may reduce the number of genuinely affordable homes. Campaigners are urging the government to prioritise rural social housing in order to benefit both the economy and local communities.

✅ Rural Groups Warn ‘Don’t Leave Countryside Behind’

New economic research reveals a 44% higher government spending per person on public infrastructure in urban areas compared to rural ones, leading rural groups, including Rural Services Network, Britain’s Leading Edge, CPRE, and English Rural, to urge the Chancellor to address this rural disadvantage in the upcoming Budget. Rural communities are at a breaking point due to inadequate investment in essential public services such as transport, affordable housing, and economic growth measures. The research exposes the unfairness in government fund allocation mechanisms and highlights the need for a strategic approach to the Green Book process to better serve countryside communities. The rural campaigners are calling for the government to make addressing rural disadvantage a priority in its Levelling Up Agenda, publish growth investment data at the local authority level for scrutiny, and create a cross-Government Taskforce led by a cabinet minister to drive meaningful change that levels up rural economies and supports a carbon zero economy.

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