Tips for rural landowners to play their part in solving the rural housing crisis
The CLA Stronger Foundations research showed that two thirds of rural land owners are keen to add to the stock of new housing available in rural areas across England and Wales. However, 59% cited planning issues as the key barrier to this; but actually, the national planning policy has never been as enabling for sustainable rural residential development as it is now.
At Rural Solutions, we recognise the challenges implicit in any planning application, but in reality, the national planning policy has actually never been as enabling for sustainable rural residential development as it is currently.
Many local authorities have embraced the objectives and principles set out to enable sustainable rural development in national policy within their Local Plans. Where this is the case, or where local authorities are yet to adopt new Local Plans, rural landowners can be confident that a well thought through and presented case for new housing of appropriate scale and design will be successful.
In situations where local authorities have adopted Local Plans that are more protective of countryside, or on sites within areas protected or constrained by national landscape environmental or policy designations (such as Green Belt), then opportunities will be fewer, but the potential for smaller schemes designed to enable the delivery of affordable housing will remain.
As ever, the key to success is preparation, together with the willingness to do the job (of the application and its promotion with local people) properly.
Our experience shows that an application for a rural housing scheme will disproportionately increase its chance of success if the applicant can:
- Explain clearly why you want to build the houses;
- Show that what you want to do is closely aligned with the local context (social, economic and environmental)
- Invest in the necessary technical, design to work out how this can be best achieved (taking account of the specific physical context and characteristics of the site); and,
- Share your proposals and engage with the local community soon enough in the process to allow them to influence the final scheme.
Finally, it is worth acknowledging the fact that a rural landowner is also a member of the local community meaning that they may often be viewed more favourable than perhaps other types of developers and this local viewpoint will only stand to add weight to the proposal.
The Rural Solutions team are experts at securing consent for rural housing development. Contact us to find out more.
Rural Solutions advise and support clients diversifying from traditional land management, such as agriculture and forestry, to commercial enterprises with a business, leisure, residential or tourism focus. Our White Paper discusses in further detail the five ways that farmers can diversify confidently and successfully.
Rob Hindle, Executive Director
COMPANY NAME: Rural Solutions
PHONE: 01756 797501