The theme of this year’s Rural Housing Week has been ‘Committed to Communities’. From 5th-9th July 2021, local authorities, housing associations, rural community councils, community-led housing hubs, and more have been showcasing rural areas and highlighting their passion and commitment to providing high quality, affordable homes in rural communities. This piece gives an overview of the work and publicity that these groups have undertaken during this years’ Rural Housing Week.
In the lead up to Rural Housing Week, Jessica Sellick from the economic development consultancy Rose Regeneration, wrote an article for the Rural Services Network titled ‘Finding a place to call ‘home’: what more can be done to plug the rural housing gap?’. The article explores how despite various government consultations, interventions, and targets, the rural housing gap remains and rural housing provision as it currently stands does not meet the needs of rural communities. Jessica explores how many homes are required in rural areas, breaking down recent government targets for housing, as well as assessing rural homelessness. The article explores whether homes are being delivered in the right place and at an affordable cost, the type and standard of homes being built, what affordable really means, the impact of Covid-19 on the rural housing gap, and what more can be done to deliver the homes needed in the countryside.
The National Housing Federation hosted a ‘Committed to Rural Communities’ webinar on the 7th July, with the recording being posted on their website next week. You can also see Eastern Community Homes in the Rural Housing Week supporter gallery!
The Rural Housing Alliance have this week released a Parish Councillors’ Guide to Rural Affordable Housing. The guide covers the basics of affordable housing, why it is needed, the planning routes available, management of the homes, and how the parish council can ensure any scheme meets the needs of the community. Download the guide here.
Alongside the guide, the Rural Housing Alliance released a number of case studies. This includes 2 schemes in the East of England:
National ACRE, of which the 6 rural community councils making up the Eastern Community Homes partnership are part of, kicked off Rural Housing Week on the 5th July with an article titled ‘Without affordable housing, rural communities are at risk of becoming lifeless, dormitory settlements’. It states that “without a change of policy, the problem of housing affordability will only get worse – and this will be to the detriment of everyone who lives in and enjoys the countryside”.
Cambridgeshire ACRE (host of Eastern Community Homes) produced a series of short videos showcasing the Cambridgeshire Rural Affordable Housing Partnership. These can be viewed below:
Read a blog from Sunila Osborne, Rural Housing Enabler at Community Action Suffolk and advisor for Eastern Community Homes, about Rural Housing Week and the importance of a good supply of affordable housing in rural England. It also includes the support Community Action Suffolk has given to Risby Parish Council from the perspective of the clerk. Get in touch with Sunila to find out more.
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority have shared a number of community-led housing rural case studies during Rural Housing Week. These have included:
- Staughton Green, Great Staughton Community Land Trust
- More’s Meadow, Great Shelford Parochial Charities
- Manor Farm, Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust
- Ovins Rise, Haddenham Community Land Trust
Get in touch:
There are 4 ACRE Rural Housing Enablers in the East of England:
Jenna Brame – Cambridgeshire ACRE – www.cambsacre.org.uk
Laura Atkinson – Rural Community Council of Essex – www.essexrcc.org.uk
Giles Meredith – Community Development Action Hertfordshire – www.cdaforherts.org.uk
Sunila Osborne – Community Action Suffolk – www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk