Launched – 2021 Parish Councillors’ Guide to Rural Affordable Housing

Calling on Local Councillors to Secure a Legacy for the Future

Rural communities can only thrive if there are good quality affordable homes available to those who live and work in rural areas.

English Rural residents in the village of Roxwell, Essex.

Yet in many rural communities affordable housing is lacking, or in some cases absent. This is not a new problem, but one that has grown worse. High property values, increased aspirations to live in the countryside and limited development of new homes have all had an impact. Many local households are now unable to find a home they can afford and remain within the rural community where they have grown up or where they work.

It need not be this way. Across the country parish councils have supported and been a key partner in delivering small scale rural affordable housing developments. These have provided high quality homes that are affordable to run. Their design is in keeping with local surroundings and reduces use of carbon fuels and resources. They have kept families together, boosted custom for local services, kept the community and local economy running with homes for essential workers such as those employed in local businesses, teachers, care workers and those providing local services.

You too could make this difference, so please take time to read this practical guide and think how this could be achieved in your own community.


Why the Guide will be Helpful to you as a Local Councillor

When you stood to become a local councillor, you probably wanted to make a difference to your community. To speak on its behalf and help local people. As you have listened to people in your parish, whether it is a single village or several small communities, you may have been told about, or maybe experienced yourself, the lack of suitable housing that can be afforded by people in your local area.

A young person still living with their parents, a family in cramped or temporary accommodation, or an older person facing the prospect of moving away because they can no longer manage in their home. Helping them can seem a tall order, but as a parish councillor you can play a vital role in meeting their needs.

This Guide shows you how. Based on questions asked by Local Councillors and experience of delivering rural affordable housing, it takes you through the options available to you, the stages in the development process, introduces you to the key players and arms you with an understanding of some of the technical matters that will help you make decisions. Most importantly of all it will help you deliver new homes that you can be proud of and make yours a thriving community.

The guide is an interactive document and is jam-packed with information, case studies (including some from English Rural) and short videos which we hope you will find inspirational.


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