The latest CPRE ’On Solid Ground’ report highlighted how small changes to policy could encourage rural landowners to release small sites which benefit local people.
Landowners could play a ‘crucial role’ in helping to fix the rural housing crisis if significant ‘barriers’ are removed.
A new report issued today (Monday November 21) by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) argued there were a ‘number of factors’ discouraging landowners to put sites forward for affordable housing, which has led to a negative impact on the ‘diversity and vibrancy’ of rural communities.
It said two key changes should be made to the tax system – alongside changes to the councils’ waiting list systems – to further offer incentives for landowners to invest in affordable rural housing.
CPRE policy and research adviser Trinley Walker said the Government should remove some of the ‘obstacles’ to encourage more houses to be built for ’those who need them’.
He said: “Landowners understand the pressures facing rural communities, and they are uniquely placed to help keep these towns and villages thriving.
“There is a clear appetite among landowners to help create affordable housing for local people, but the current system discourages them from doing so.”
Current policy allows rural landowners to provide sites at below-market prices to build houses for local people in need, but recent legal and financial changes have made it increasingly difficult.
Only eight per cent of rural housing is classed as affordable in comparison to the 20 per cent in urban areas.
The report sounded alarm bells about the increase in average age in rural communities, suggesting the higher age of 45 had ‘further diminished the attractiveness of the community’ and resulted in a ‘pressing need’ to provide additional affordable housing.
CLA president Ross Murray said he was pleased members of the CLA provided nearly 40 per cent of all private rented housing in rural areas, but thought more could be done to provide further opportunities to support local people.
He said: “Landowners have strong multi-generational ties to their communities and are often local employers so are well-placed to help increase the supply of affordable homes.
“At a time when housing costs are spiralling, providing more affordable housing is an excellent way to sustain rural communities for future generations and ensure people have the opportunity to live and work in the countryside.”