Leicestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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A Note of Caution on Affordable Rural Housing

Sharnford development nearing completion Sharnford development nearing completion Richard Windley

A Note of Caution on Affordable Rural Housing

In his latest report to CPRE Leicestershire, Richard Mugglestone, Project Delivery Manager at Midlands Rural Housing, presents a note of caution about the future development of affordable rural housing.

 

Although housing associations involved with delivering Affordable Rural Housing in Leicestershire did well in the 2015-18 bids for funds, it was by being very competitive. He warns that as a result there may not be surplus funds to buy or build additional affordable rural housing during this period and that affordable homes built as part of larger developments may remain unsold.

A recent report, the Rural Housing Policy Review, launched in February shed light on the current situation when it suggested that no real progress has been made over the past decade. The output of affordable rural housing has not yet returned to pre-2008 levels and major housing associations indicate that their schemes in the pipeline are at low levels.

The evidence given to this review certainly supports a cautionary tale. The new proposition from Government removing the need for affordable homes on small rural sites could reduce provision by 50%. Local housing associations and builders lack the financial clout to fill the void left by larger developers that steer clear of small, complicated rural sites. In addition, while rural exception sites have been successful in Leicestershire in the past, there is now a question of why landowners would want to release land for 100% affordable housing when they can potentially hold on for open market housing that gives them a greater rate of return. .

On a brighter note, Richard Windley was delighted to see recently that the Rural Exception site development of 8 homes in Sharnford was nearing completion. Some families with a close connection to the parish will soon be housed there.

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