Joint Housing Investment Plan and Rural Housing Enabler Network to offer solutions to rural housing challenges

04 July 2019


With rising house prices causing increasing affordability problems in rural areas, affordable rural housing has now been cited as a key priority for the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER).


Young people leaving villages in search of more affordable homes and older people trapped living in houses that have become unmanageable, due to limited options to downsize, is putting local services and facilities, such as schools, pubs and shops under threat.This is something YNYER’s recently developed Joint Housing Investment Plan aims to help tackle.  Highlighting the region’s urgent need for investment, land and flexibility, the investment plan flags rural sites as, in great need of funding and support.

After a steady increase, rural house prices in North Yorkshire have now reached a peak of 9.4 times the average local income – resulting in huge consequences for many local communities. The focus on increasing affordable housing in rural locations, comes in a bid to try and ensure rural communities are sustainable in the long-term.  However, as delivering affordable new homes in these areas can often be a very complex and lengthy process, YNYER work with a team of Rural Housing Enablers (RHE’s) across the area to ensure that resources and expertise are readily on hand to support communities.

RHE’s work with Housing Associations, Parish and Ward Councilors, Homes England, local communities and landowners to deliver affordable rural housing, so that local people and workers on modest incomes can stay in or return to their villages. 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 character of a village and remain affordable for local people.  It is developments of this kind that can really help villages to thrive.

Paddocks End, Hutton Rudby in Hambleton is a prime example of this type of scheme. Built by Broadacres Housing Association with the support of the Hambleton RHE’s, the site was opened by Princess Anne in January 2017. Local Paddocks End resident, Laura Malkin explained that the pressures and financial burden of modern life have caused her and her husband to become very reliant on the support of their own families.

She said, “Being able to live in my home village was very important, as it meant my family could easily help out with childcare. However, due to rural life becoming more and more desirable, we were unfortunately being priced out of the rental and buying markets in our village. Having a rural exception site in the village gave us and other villagers on rural incomes a chance to remain in the communities we grew up in. Shared Ownership was a vital option for my family. As well as having access to affordable housing, it also gives us the opportunity to build up equity for the future.”

Speaking about the region’s rural housing challenges, David Dickson, Chair of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership Infrastructure board said, “We want to build a rural powerhouse in our region. To do that we have to tackle the challenge of affordable housing. Together, our Joint Housing Investment Plan and the Rural Housing Enablers will support our aims to ensure that young people, with all of their skills and talent, are able to choose to remain local and that our villages, market towns and high streets can benefit from thriving communities.”

Funded by Housing Associations and Local Authorities across the area, the RHE network delivered 175 new, affordable rural homes in 2017/18 – a fifth of all affordable homes delivered within the region. In 2018/19 the Rural Housing Enabler Network worked together to enable an 86% increase in completions and build over 400 new rural affordable homes on both mixed market developments and 100% affordable housing sites. Two thirds of the new homes were for rent and a third for low cost home ownership. 76 of these new affordable homes were delivered in the national park areas. Over 250 new rural affordable homes were also granted planning permission during the year.

Our affordable housing figures will be progressed significantly by the launch in January 2019 of our Joint Investment Plan with Homes England, which unlocks potential for 16,000 affordable homes by 2027.

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