It is imperative that we build more homes in our rural areas. Failure to do so will undermine the future sustainability of our rural communities.
‘Rural Communities’, House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Sixth Report of Session 2013-14, Volume 1 (16 July 2013)
Cambridgeshire ACRE facilitates the Cambridgeshire Affordable Rural Housing Partnership on behalf of four Local Authorities and seven Housing Associations. The sole focus of this partnership is to build affordable homes for local people in rural communities. Affordable housing is simply defined as housing made available for either rent or shared ownership, based on evidence of need, to those unable to afford market prices.
Policies of planning restraint have combined with an influx of migrants in the form of retirees, commuters and second home owners to create a housing market that simply does not meet community needs. House prices have spiraled, and issues of affordability have been exacerbated by the decline in social housing stock and the gentrification of other smaller, historically cheaper, properties. Ironically, the rural idyll that many seek to preserve is the root cause of rural community tensions. Young people and other low income families are displaced leaving behind recruitment difficulties, unviable services and a breakdown in social networks.
Small affordable housing developments can have a far reaching beneficial impact on rural communities. Each house has the potential to transform lives and collectively they can make the difference to the viability of key services such as the village school, shop or pub.
Cambridgeshire ACRE facilitates such schemes by bringing partners together to assess local housing need, identify potential sites and develop schemes in line with community needs. Our schemes are guaranteed to deliver long lasting benefits: priority will always be given to people with a connection to the community whilst controls ensure the houses remain affordable in perpetuity.
In the last eight years we have delivered almost 400 affordable homes for local people in rural communities across more than 30 schemes.