Better business

Rural Housing Week 2024 - Addressing the challenges, securing the future of rural communities

Rooftop Communications Team
July 1, 2024

Housing associations play a crucial role in providing affordable and good quality homes that sustain and rejuvenate rural areas, assisting them to remain vibrant and viable places to live and work.

As a rural, community-based housing association, Rooftop Housing Group has been addressing rural housing needs and provided 7,000 homes in South Worcestershire and North Gloucestershire since 1994, enabling local families to stay in their communities.

However, the increasing housing crisis, soaring house prices, and the increase in the cost of living are impacting many families and individuals who live and work there.

Young families are often priced out, leading to a decline in the local workforce and affecting services such as schools, healthcare and small businesses. This worsens the risk of rural depopulation and local economy.

Meanwhile, higher costs and logistical hurdles due to remote locations, limited land availability and higher construction costs are common, as is the challenge of securing consistent funding. Additionally, planning regulations and community opposition sometimes delay or derail projects.

It’s critical for the new government to act more in rural areas to avoid turning them into dead towns.

“We need a long-term plan to tackle the unique challenges of housing in this country. Investment is not just about buildings; it’s about supporting families, individuals and communities to grow and thrive. Villages and market towns need affordable housing to sustain local communities and support everything from local pubs to schools.” Boris Worrall, Rooftop Housing Group Chief Executive, said.

Research shows that the next government could add over £50bn to the economy by building 90,000 affordable homes. This would directly support nearly 140,000 jobs in the first year alone, while people with a stable and affordable place to live would generate £31.4bn in societal benefits. [1]

The UK can ensure that its rural areas thrive by prioritising long-term investment and planning support. Collaboration between the government, private sectors and local communities is essential to streamline process and share resources.

“With the right support, rural communities can be resilient, thriving for our next generations,” Worrall said.

[1]Research from CEBR, commissioned by Shelter and the National Housing Federation. February 2024.]

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