Local needs housing
Image: Squires, an Edwardian terrace that Imperial College, the previous owner left empty for years. The present owner Telereal Trillium has let them stay empty for nearly four years.
What is local needs housing?
"...Rural local needs homes are those provided by a Registered Provider of Social Housing (RPSH) also known as a Housing Association, to enable local people to remain in the village where they live or work and not be forced to move away because of high house prices and high rents. These homes remain available for people with local connections in perpetuity..."
Rural Local Needs Housing Guidance Notes, Ashford Borough Council (2013)
Crucially, unlike other forms of social housing, which are subject to right to buy, these units remain available in perpetuity to rent by people with local connections.
Support for local needs housing
Executive summary (extract) "...The Wye Neighbourhood Plan household survey identified the level of local support for the principle of affordable housing. The responses showed that 75.3% of households considered that it was 'very important' (43.9%) or 'important' (31.4%) to provide affordable housing.
Whereas 7% of respondents considered the issue to be 'unimportant', and 4.3% 'very unimportant' and the remaining 13.5% were neutral. Of the 795 households who returned the survey in July 2012, 773 answered this question. Over 76% of all occupied households responded to the survey.
Local needs housing: a case study
Three of the high quality local needs houses in Godmersham built by the English Rural Housing Association. Opened by the patron HRH Princess Anne in 2011, they will remain available in perpetuity for people with a local connection to the parish.
Affordable Rural Housing report, published by the Rural Housing Alliance
HRH The Princess Royal (Patron, English Rural Housing Association) said:
'The absence of sufficient affordable homes in our rural communities is not a new problem - in fact it is a problem that has got worse in recent years. High property values, increased aspirations to live in the countryside and limited development of new homes have all had an impact, resulting in many local households now being unable to afford to remain within the rural community where they have grown up and have support networks.
Small scale affordable rural housing developments help to rebalance communities, keeping families together whilst providing a boost for local services. Parish and town councils are a driving force for change and a key partner in delivering affordable homes for local people. Please take time to read this practical guide and think about what can be achieved in your own community.'
HRH The Princess Royal
Patron, English Rural Housing Association