Affordable Rural Housing

We are providing independent enabling services to support rural affordable housing across Somerset

The sustainability of rural community life depends on the availability of homes people can afford.

Do you need independent support to help your parish council or group deliver the homes your community needs? We are here to assist you.

We help you achieve your scheme by supporting you along the way, while keeping the community in the lead and making the key decisions.

Communities often need help with navigating the planning system, financing, finding suitable land, and selecting a social landlord. We know each scheme is unique and we are here to help or advise you at whatever stage you are at in your rural housing journey.

All you need is time and enthusiasm; we can provide or direct you to technical knowledge.

Roman Way Affordable Housing scheme, a partnership between Queen Camel Community Land Trust and Hastoe Housing Association; photo courtesy of Hastoe.

It’s Rural Housing Week 2024, and to celebrate this we are launching our new project.

Are you passionate about tackling the issue of affordable housing in rural areas? Our new CCS service is here to help communities like yours find solutions!

Sign up to our FREE Webinar today!

Date: 17th July 2024

Time: 7 pm – 8 pm

Location: Online via Zoom

What We’ll Cover:

  • Success stories of small-scale, well-designed rural housing schemes.
  • Essential evidence, including conducting a local Housing Needs Survey.
  • Key planning issues and considerations for site selection.
  • Engaging the whole community in determining the best way forward.
Book your space here

The shortage of affordable housing is perhaps one of the biggest threats to opportunity in the countryside. But rural communities need to have a say in the homes that get built

Richard Quallington, Executive Director of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE)

What is Rural Affordable Housing?

Rural affordable housing is provided in rural parishes for local people, who would otherwise be unable to find somewhere to live locally that they can afford to buy or rent in the general housing market. It is not always immediately obvious that there is a demand for affordable housing within a particular area or what the benefits of developing a small scheme for local people will bring in terms of helping to sustain local services.

The homes are usually owned by a social landlord such as a housing association or a community land trust. They are let at rents significantly below prevailing market rates or can be purchased at a sub-market rate for example with a discount or through shared ownership.

The housing is strictly for local people and the local connection criteria are specified in a legal agreement attached to the planning permission. This agreement ensures that all future lettings or sales meet the same local connection criteria.

Housing Need Surveys: Do you need one and we can help!

A local affordable housing scheme often depends on there being a recent Housing Need Survey which we can independently undertake. These are anonymous questionnaires that are usually made available to every household in the survey area – which could be a single village, parish or a group of related settlements. They provide information on the level of local housing need, in terms of size, type, tenure, housing cost and affordability.

They provide the evidence that communities need to make informed decisions on local housing and that planners need in order to grant exceptional permission for an affordable housing scheme.

They can also provide housing associations, community land trusts and developers with information to tailor proposals to best meet the range of needs identified locally.

Other Resources

The Rural Housing Alliance has produced a useful guide for Parish Councils which provides more context. It is easy to read and dipping into it will quickly give you more background information.

Rural Housing Alliance Guidance

For more information or to discuss your project contact:

colinm@somersetrcc.org.uk

Funded by

We are able to help rural communities with their housing issues thanks to our share of £ 2.5 Million funding for a national programme of rural housing enablers made available from DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) this year. The funding has been distributed through ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), a national body representing local organisations such as ours.