Rural Affordable Housing

CCB is committed to helping  rural communities in Berkshire to provide affordable housing that meets a range of local needs. Our knowledge and expertise in this field influences local, regional and national rural housing strategies.

We can provide advice and guidance to Parish and Town Councils on:

  • How to identify local affordable housing need
  • How to identify the housing requirements of the local ageing population
  • Local housing solutions to meet local needs

CCB works with communities, local landowners, Local Authorities and Housing Associations to bring forward small developments that can make BIG differences in a community. Over the years, four rural exception site developments have been built following a housing need survey and with the support of local communities. As a result of these developments, 41 homes have been built specifically to give local people access to affordable homes.

Case Study: Louisa and Daniel’s delight with their new family home.

“Even if we had a lot of money, we couldn’t have asked for a better home,” says Daniel of his new three-bedroom house in the Berkshire village of Wargrave. “It’s in a perfect location, we have lovely neighbours, and our gas and electricity are a quarter of what they were in our previous house.”

Daniel and his partner, Louisa, a nursery school teacher, moved into the house in March 2011 with their teenage daughter and one-year-old son.

For three years, Daniel looked after his grandmother in Wargrave after she had a stroke. When she died in May 2010, he effectively became homeless as the house was in her name. He and Louisa wanted to stay in Wargrave but realised they simply couldn’t afford it. The family faced the very real possibility of having to move away from their roots, away from the school that their daughter attended and away from Daniel’s mother, who often looked after their one-year-old son when Louisa was at work.

However, when they heard about Kings Acre, they put in an application, explaining that Daniel had a strong connection to the village. “We didn’t think we stood a chance of getting one. It was like winning the lottery when we did,” says Louisa.

Different types of village affordable homes

Rural exception schemes are one way of securing homes for local people. They are small developments designed to meet precise needs identified from a Housing Need survey.

CCB works in consultation with the community to ensure a site and development are acceptable and that it will meet local needs. Affordable homes on an exception site are reserved for local people in perpetuity. They cannot be sold. However, in order to pay for a scheme there may need to be a few homes for sale on the scheme.

Community Right to Build

A community group can form a Community Interest Company, or Trust and provided they can gain support from the wider community through a referendum, they can develop what ever they want as long as it is for the benefit of the community. These developments might help save a local amenity like a pub or community hall while at the same time providing more homes for local people.

For more information about the Community Right to Build see the Locality website.

Section 106 Housing

On any general development there is usually a percentage of housing that is provided as affordable housing. These homes help to meet the statutory needs of the Local Authority, but are not reserved for local people.

Housing to meet our ageing needs

Everyone hopes to remain independent throughout their lifetime, however it is important to be prepared for the day when your own home no longer meets your needs. In rural areas, the options to find appropriate homes to downsize into are very limited. It can be even more difficult to find extra care housing or retirement options that meet the needs of rural communities. All too often older people find themselves under occupying homes they can no longer maintain, or worse find themselves having to move to distant towns to have their housing needs met.

Communities can work together to develop more rural solutions to meet needs. When people have real options in the places they want to live, they are often more than willing to leave their large homes. This can be beneficial for an entire community as it makes a village a more sustainable place.

Contact CCB for more information about affordable housing in Berkshire.
Telephone: 0118 961 2000
Email: tim.parry@ccberks.org.uk