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The Need for Rural Affordable Housing

HRH The Princess Royal opening Paddocks End in Hutton RudbyHRH The Princess Royal opening Paddocks End in Hutton Rudby

High house prices in many rural areas cause problems for local people on low and average incomes. Young people are leaving villages to find homes they can afford meaning that local services and facilities, such as schools and shops, are under threat.

Providing good quality rural affordable housing is a key priority for York, North Yorkshire & East Riding. This is a complex and often lengthy process and we have a team of Rural Housing Enablers (RHEs) to ensure that resource and expertise is on hand for rural communities and partners. RHEs work to increase rural affordable housing to enable local people/workers on modest incomes to stay or return to their village. Developments of this kind can help villages to thrive. 

How RHEs can help your community    North & East Yorkshire Rural Housing Enablers LogoNorth & East Yorkshire Rural Housing Enablers Logo

Our RHEs work in the rural areas of Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough, East Riding and Selby, including the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks. They offer free, impartial advice to support the development of affordable housing for local people. They offer step by step guidance and support to deliver new high quality housing that meet the needs of communities and fit in with the local environment.

The Rural Housing Enabler for your area will work closely with your community and parish council. By working with local people and housing associations they help provide affordable housing to enable local people on modest incomes to stay in their village and sustain communities. A key tool for delivering these homes is the Rural Exception Site policy outlined in the National Planning Policy Framework. This allows affordable housing to be developed on sites within or immediately adjacent to villages that would not otherwise be permitted, provided that it meets a proven local need. Such schemes must be sympathetic to the the character of a village and remain affordable for local people.

Our enablers can put you in touch with other rural communities who have already developed rural affordable schemes and arrange visits to help you pick up tips to develop the best scheme for your community. RHEs work with community and parish councils and have the skills and expertise to:

  • Undertake parish wide surveys to assess local housing need
  • Work with the Parish Council and others, such as housing associations, to explore ways of meeting identified housing need
  • Liaise with landowners and local authority housing and planning departments to identify possible sites
  • Facilitate community consultations
  • Help to secure funding for affordable housing
  • Act as an honest broker between parties as the project progresses, ensuring that the community is able to participate.

How Enablers can help

The programme is led by the North & East Yorkshire Rural Housing Enabler Network, chaired by Councillor Richard Foster and reporting to the Housing Board. Its membership comprises Local Authorities, North Yorkshire County Council, National Park Authority, Homes England, the Country Land & Business Association and partner Housing Associations. It is funded by an innovative model which includes contributions from Local Authorities, Housing Associations and National Parks.

The Rural Services Network, in partnership with the Rural Housing Alliance, published a new Affordable Housing Guide for Parish Councils in December 2014 which is a useful guide for Parish Councillors interesting in considering affordable housing provision. Click here to view the guide.

If you are a local landowner who may be interested in offering your land for a rural affordable housing scheme we would like to hear from you. Please see our call for land leaflet or contact your local rural housing enabler

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