Call to solve UK housing crisis and save the countryside

Urgent action is needed to resolve a housing crisis that is blighting a generation, according to a major new policy document from the CLA

A rural farming scene
A rural farming scene

Urgent action is needed to resolve a housing crisis that is blighting a generation, according to a major new policy document from the CLA.

Tackling the Housing Crisis in England looks at what needs to be done to resolve the Government’s estimated shortfall in housing supply of some 230,000 homes a year and sets out CLA policy on housing for the next five years.

The report proposes a raft of recommendations to ease the housing crisis, including encouraging private landowners to build affordable homes by broadening the types of provider accepted by councils, recognising that landowners can pool their resources to speed up the creation of garden cities and using welfare reform as a means for extending the range of housing.

CLA North regional director Dorothy Fairburn said: “New homes are urgently needed to keep communities in the countryside alive.

“Without this housing, we will lose the young people and services needed to keep rural areas economically viable.

“More retirement homes are also needed in rural areas so older people can pass on farm holdings to the next generation.”

The CLA wants to see new homes for first-time buyers and for existing owners looking to downsize.

It wants to see more retirement homes which will enable people to pass on farm holdings to a younger generation – and help clear the tenancy logjam that is hampering the future of farming – and it wants to see changes to a tax regime which is seen as a fundamental block to new housing supply, particularly in the let sector. The report also calls for:

Better and more consistent advice from planning authorities.

A review of Energy Performance Certificates so older rented accommodation is not taken out of use.

Exemption from council tax for vacant older buildings being brought up to minimum energy performance standards.

An extension of the Landlords Energy Savings Allowance instead of replacing it with expensive Green Deal loans. Miss Fairburn added: “Our recommendations reflect a vision where you no longer have to live in an urban location to work effectively.

“In conjunction with improvements to transport policy and rural broadband delivery, our proposals will help to level development land values across the country.”

Alnwick-based landowner Mark Bridgeman, who chairs the CLA’s national housing working group, was closely involved in the development of the new policy document.

He said: “How the Government delivers housing supply is crucial to a range of inter-connected issues – including the North-South divide, an ageing population and an economy that is still recovering from the global financial crisis.”

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