Gloucestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Rural housing

Wednesday, 14 December 2016 12:24

CPRE Glos Award Recipient Kevin Macleod with Charlie Watson CPRE Glos Award Recipient Kevin Macleod with Charlie Watson CPRE Gloucestershire

There is a shortage of affordable housing in rural areas,  People on low incomes cannot afford what the housing market demands. In rural areas average house prices are seven times the average rural household income.

Providing affordable housing is in everyone’s interest. The person who is in need of affordable housing is often the person a community relies on, be it in public services such as health, teaching and the postal service or in private services such as shops, carers and building maintenance. Balanced communities are more lively, support local services and help ensure that local people can stay in their communities as they get older. But without affordable housing young people will be forced to move to the larger towns and our smaller towns and villages will increasingly become the preserve of the wealthy and the elderly.

In Gloucestershire the magnitude of the problem varies from district to district but overall it is acute with higher than average house prices and a significant portion of the population earning much less that the national average wage. While our local authorities recognise the importance of affordable housing, the big issue is funding - affordable housing has to be subsidised. There is some government money but it is not nearly enough so other mechanisms have to be found: the commonest is that in return for planning permission for a housing development the council requires a certain percentage to be affordable housing. This can work well in the larger towns but the problem in rural areas is different.

Typically the problem of housing in any one village could be solved by a small number of affordable houses. What would be damaging would be to remove all control on free market housing so that the urban approach can be applied. This would result in an unsustainable flourishing of new commuter housing and be very destructive of village character

CPRE Gloucestershire's policy on providing affordable housing in smaller towns and villages (We are promoting this policy for inclusion in Local Plans.)

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