This week is #RuralHousingWeek and we have been considering some of the issues and challenges rural communities face when it comes to housing.
We firmly believe that genuinely affordable housing is the bedrock of a thriving, living countryside,
but we are troubled by the fact that house prices are seven times average earnings in rural areas,
compared with 5.9 times in urban areas.
In fact in Sevenoaks average house prices are 10.5 times average salary and in Tunbridge Wells 10.3 times.
Agricultural and other rural workers’ annual earnings are far lower (average £19,700 compared with £26,900 urban) which makes it even more difficult for people to live in the villages where they grew up or where they work.
CPRE is calling for:
- Local communities should be empowered through neighbourhood planning while housing policy should be “rural proofed” to deliver what the countryside needs: high-quality, affordable housing.
- The government must ensure rural areas, including areas of natural beauty and national parks, are exempt from the forced sale of council homes.
- Empower small and medium-sized enterprise builders with local knowledge to provide affordable homes in rural areas.
The Government must focus on the delivery of the right housing in the right places.