Revolutionising Rural Housing: The Launch of a Groundbreaking Design Guide

On Friday, 5th July 2024, a pivotal event took place during Rural Housing Week at the beautiful Ellenborough Park hotel in the Cotswolds. Our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, officially endorsed the innovative “A Design Guide: Building Tomorrow’s Rural Communities“, a comprehensive tool that aims to transform the approach to affordable housing in rural communities.

The launch event brought together experts and influential guests, including rural housing professionals, architects, community leaders, and rural advocates. Notable speakers included English Rural President Sir Peter Dixon, English Rural Chief Executive Martin Collett, architectural illustrator and author Matthew Rice, Ursula Bennion, Chief Executive of Trent & Dove Housing Association, and Elizabeth Buchanan CVO, Steering Committee member of Future Countryside. Their impactful speeches marked an important step in our mission to create beautiful, sustainable, and affordable homes in the countryside, highlighting the pressing need for change and the guide’s potential to make a significant difference to rural communities.

A Call for Change

The Design Guide is more than just a publication; it represents our strong commitment to addressing the rural housing crisis. With a call to action in a Foreword by HRH The Princess Royal, and expert contributions from Martin Collett, Jo Lavis and other respected rural advocates, alongside captivating illustrations by Matthew Rice, this guide offers hope to communities in need of affordable, attractive homes that integrate with the local landscape.

Martin Collett“The rural housing crisis is a pressing issue that demands our attention. By challenging the stigma associated with social housing, we hope to encourage more villages in need of homes for their community to come forward.” – Martin Collett, Chief Executive, English Rural

The guide is structured into five comprehensive sections, each addressing a key aspect of rural housing:

▶️ Our Village, Our Future
▶️ Our House is a Very, Very, Fine House
▶️ Our Village Landscape
▶️ Designing with Tradition
▶️ Building Towards Tomorrow

By exploring these crucial areas, the guide offers a practical framework for creating thriving, inclusive, and sustainable rural communities that meet the diverse needs of residents whilst respecting the unique character of the countryside.

Empowering Communities

A standout feature of the guide is the inclusion of a practical toolkit designed to empower villages in need. This toolkit provides communities with the necessary knowledge and resources to start their own journey towards building affordable and beautiful rural homes.

“Beauty and affordability should not be mutually exclusive. Through thoughtful design and the use of local materials, we can create homes that seamlessly integrate into the fabric of rural communities, enhancing both the built and natural environment.” – Matthew Rice, Illustrator

The launch of the Rural Housing Design Guide comes at a critical time, as the gap between rural house prices and wages continues to grow. With only 8% of the rural housing stock classified as affordable, compared to 19% in urban areas, action is needed now more than ever.

Join the Movement

Now is the time to get involved in the rural housing movement. We encourage you to download the Rural Housing Design Guide today and discover how you can contribute to positive change in your community. Whether you are a rural housing professional, an architect, a community leader, or someone who believes in the importance of affordable, beautiful homes, this guide is an essential resource for shaping the future of rural housing.

Together, we can overcome obstacles, challenge stigmas, and create a better future for generations to come. Let us work together to #RethinkRuralHousing and build the thriving, sustainable communities our countryside needs.

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