Rural Housing Enabler project


Affordable housing in rural areas boosted by launch of new scheme

Communities in Northamptonshire’s rural areas are set to benefit from a new package of government funding announced in November designed to unlock affordable housing opportunities.

The scheme, which is being delivered by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) on behalf of Defra, will help boost the supply of new, affordable homes across England. Northamptonshire ACRE, the local ACRE Network member, is one of the beneficiaries of the funding and will be developing two new roles as a result. The funding comes from a national £2.5 million government fund to support the work of Rural Housing Enablers who broker conversations between residents, councils and builders about securing housing that meets local need.

The past few years have seen housing prices in the countryside rise at a quicker rate than in urban areas placing additional strain on household finances and forcing many people to move. In turn, this can affect the viability of local businesses and services.

According to recent government statistics, the most affordable homes in rural areas cost 8.8 times earnings compared to 7.6 times in urban areas (excluding London). A reduction in the number of private rental properties has also caused monthly rents to soar in the countryside since the pandemic.

This month the charity appointed Rural Officer Jenni Hedges, and Rural Fieldworker Claire Yow as Rural Housing Enablers. Jenni and Claire will be working closely with rural communities and are looking for innovative partnerships with Parish Councils, Registered Providers, the private sector and others to increase the pipeline of rural affordable housing schemes in Northamptonshire and to support delivery.

Based in Northamptonshire, Northants ACRE is an independent charity in Northamptonshire working exclusively with rural communities in the county and have a wealth of knowledge and expertise built up over 75 years about rural issues to support our work. We believe all rural communities should have the same advantages and chances as any urban community and we continue to advocate on their behalf to ensure that happens.

Communities interested in exploring a small development of affordable homes for local people are encouraged to contact Northamptonshire ACRE’s Rural Housing Enabler, Jenni Hedges, for an initial conversation via [email protected]

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