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Affordable Rural Housing for Local People


It is widely recognised that those living on low or modest incomes in rural communities face real difficulties when trying to find a home of their own within a village. Reasons for this are many, such as;

  • Right to Buy enabled council house tenants to purchase their home at a discount without these homes being replaced.

  • Loss of tied accommodation as agriculture becomes more mechanised.

  • High house prices and low wages in rural areas. In Essex the ratio of house price to income is 10.1 and mean annual income in 2015 was £29,780. Income required for an 80% mortgage (2016) is £68,680 (80% at 3.5x)*

  • Gentrification where small houses are extended  reducing the number of first time buyer properties that are available.

  • Restricted supply of suitable sites.

Watch our film featuring key members of the community and residents talking about what affordable housing for local people has meant to them.

'My Village My Home' - Affordable rural housing, helping to build communities.

It is not always apparent that there is a demand for affordable housing within a particular area or what the benefits of developing a small scheme for local people will bring in terms of helping to sustain local service. Rural affordable housing can benefit a huge range of different people within a community, from those wishing to make their first step onto the housing ladder to those wishing to downsize.

At RCCE we believe communities have the power to influence change. We provide guidance and information to help in planning a thriving & sustainable future.

In the case of affordable housing the Rural Housing Enabler (RHE) can act as an independent advisor providing impartial assistance in developing affordable and community led housing for people with a local connection and  will work with and on behalf of rural communities to address the shortage of affordable homes within the Parish. The work undertaken involves identifying the local need for housing as a starting point, usually via a housing needs survey of every home in the Parish.

Housing Needs Surveys

To establish whether a need for affordable housing exists in a village and what size, type and tenure people need, RCCE's RHE will work closely with the Parish Council to undertake a housing needs survey. This is a questionnaire which is distributed to each household in the parish asking for details on their current and future housing need. Establishing what your local housing need is will enable your parish to ensure that as a community you are able to plan ahead for future housing provision for those with a strong local connection, should a need be identified. In Essex we are seeing parishes on the second or third scheme as their first proved so successful. We have also conducted housing needs surveys for Neighbourhood Development Plans, helping them influence local connection priority on their more strategic developments.

*National Housing Federation – Home Truths 2016/17

We would welcome an opportunity to discuss affordable housing and housing needs surveys in more detail and to answer any questions that may arise. To find out more, please contact Laura Atkinson, the Rural Housing Enabler, on either 01376 574330 or by e-mail at 


Affordable Rural Housing for Local People: Information Pack

Abbreviations and Jargon

Definition of Affordable Housing

Frequently Asked Questions

Partner Organisations.docx

The benefits of affordable rural housing to the local community.docx

The role of the Rural Housing Enabler.docx

What is a Housing Association.docx