Hastoe launched its report called ‘Innovation in Practice: Delivering Rural Housing’ at the House of Lords yesterday, 23 July.
The event, hosted by Lord Richard Best, a long-time supporter of the need for more affordable rural housing, was attended by Peers and influential people from various organisations, such as the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Homes and Communities Agency.
Delivering affordable rural homes has its challenges; some are legal, some financial, some are practical and some are about how people respond and behave. The report aims to demonstrate a range of innovative approaches that are being put into practice, not just in England, but also in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and to motivate others – elected members, local residents, developers and landowners – to take up the challenge in their own communities.
The publication provides brief rural housing case studies where local people – also known as ‘key influencers’ – have risen to the challenge, achieving housing for their communities. We also explore new ideas in housing, some are tried and others not yet tried. Some of those people and communities featured in the report were also at the launch.
Lord Best said:
“Congratulations to Hastoe. This report brings together the trials and tribulations of delivering rural housing and the heroes and heroines that make it happen. I would like to pay tribute to Hastoe and the people mentioned in the report who have achieved so much against all adversity.”
Margaret Clark OBE, Hastoe Chair, said:
“Whilst it is encouraging that there have been many success stories in recent times, the fact remains that there is an overwhelming need for more affordable housing in rural areas.We hope that this report will inspire people to press forward with much-needed housing for their communities. Most people, who live in rural communities, whatever their circumstances, fully appreciate the need for sensible, sympathetic and sustainable development. It enables older generations to downsize and younger people to remain within their communities, close to family and friends and, often near to their work.
“The case studies in this report demonstrate what can be achieved to tackle the lack of affordable housing in small villages. Support from the community, the parish and district council and a committed land owner are the right ingredients to help sustain rural communities in the future.”
Gill Payne, Director of Campaigns and Neighbourhoods at the National Housing Federation, said:
“Rural life in England is under threat because of the drastic shortage of homes people can afford.
“Living in our beautiful country villages is a joy and a privilege, but that doesn’t mean it’s the exclusive preserve of the rich. If there are no working people in our countryside, what will happen to the local shops and pubs, the village school, the small businesses that maintain rural economies?
“This report is absolutely right that local people are the ones who hold the key to getting more affordable homes in their villages. Housing associations like Hastoe are ready and willing to build high quality homes – but they can’t do that unless rural people tell their councillors that they support the right homes, in the right place, at the right price.
“I hope everyone who reads this report will join Hastoe and ourselves in saying Yes to Homes at www.yestohomes.co.uk.”