Hastoe Letter in Sunday Times

Hastoe written an open letter, with other rural partners, expressing concern on Government proposals for Entry Level Exception Sites that could undermine the delivery of affordable rented homes in Rural England.

The full letter, published in the Sunday Times on 27th May, with a full list of signatories, is below:

The Prime Minister has declared it her personal mission to ‘fix Britain’s housing crisis’. Rural England in particular needs quality affordable homes in the right places, and the biggest need in villages is for affordable homes to rent, without which local families on low incomes are forced to move away. However, as it stands the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) could make this situation worse. 

The draft NPPF is a broadly positive step. Indeed, its support in principle for development that helps villages to prosper has been largely welcomed by rural organisations.

Not so welcome, however, is the Entry Level Exception Site policy contained within the draft. This would allow for more land outside of normal planning boundaries to be released for development — but, unlike the existing approach to exceptional development, it does not involve the community, does not recommend meeting local housing needs and does not safeguard future affordability.

Furthermore, given that open market homes will make a significant proportion of any sites, this policy will increase land values — which will further undermine the delivery of affordable homes to rent.

We urge the Government to reconsider. Existing policies, when applied well in practice, already deliver quality, affordable homes in rural England. This draft policy is a backward step.

Martin Collett, Chairman Rural Housing Alliance
Crispin Truman, Chief Executive, Campaign to Protect Rural England
Graham Biggs, Chief Executive, Rural Services Network
David Orr, Chief Executive, National Housing Federation
Richard Quallington, Executive Director, Action with Communities in Rural England
Catherine Harrington, Director, National CLT Network
Jo Lavis, Director, Rural Housing Solutions
Sue Chalkley, Chief Executive, Hastoe Housing Association
Jonathan Owen, Chief Executive, National Association of Local Councils
Adrian Maunders, Chief Executive, English Rural Housing Association
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