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East Hanningfield Residents Come Home

The sun shone on four happy families in East Hanningfield as they viewed their new homes for the first time on Saturday 7 October, 2006. The homes, completed under the Rural Housing Enabler project by Colne Housing Association, are for shared ownership where the housing association retains a part share of the property and the resident buys the other part. A further eight rented properties for other people from the village will be released shortly. All homes will be ready for occupation in time for Christmas.

This scheme, one of a number currently being built across the county, aims to address the ever increasing difficulty that people living in rural villages experience when trying to find affordable housing locally. Working with the community through the parish council, the Rural Housing Enabler carries out a Housing Needs Survey to assess not only the level of need but the size and tenure of accommodation that is most suitable.


One young woman who is moving into one of the shared ownership homes  said: “This is my first house and it means that I can stay in the village and live near my parents and my friends, something I didn’t think I would ever be able to afford.”


Parish councillors from settlements of fewer than 3,000 residents who feel there may be a need for affordable housing in their village are invited to contact Laura Atkinson, Rural Housing Enabler, to discuss the possibilities by telephoning 013760574330, or via email


Parish Councillors Learn More About Affordable Housing

Parish Councillors and clerks from across the county had the opportunity to learn more about the issues of providing affordable housing in rural areas at an event hosted by EALC (Essex Association of Local Councils). The event, held in Great Dunmow on 8 November was chaired by Wendy Lewsey, Deputy Executive Director at Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) and the speakers were Chris Moor, Regional Development Manager for Hastoe Housing Association Simon Latham, former Chair of Thaxted Parish Council and Moira Groborz, Rural Housing Enabler at RCCE.


Following the formal welcome to the participants, Chris and Moira covered a wide range of associated topics, such as: why more affordable housing was needed, particular issues for rural communities, the different types of tenure, the process of developing a scheme and allocating the homes. Time was also allocated to a question and answer session so that those attending had the chance to discuss any particular queries relating to their village. 


Simon Latham shared his experience as Chair of Thaxted Parish Council and the response of the local community when the idea of building affordable housing in the village was put forward.  Thaxted’s first affordable housing scheme was initially met with some scepticism but once people saw the quality and design of the build families came forward requesting to join the housing needs list. Hastoe Housing Association is about to start the fourth development of this sort in the village which will provide fourteen houses for rent and sixteen for shared ownership for local people.


With affordable rural housing an issue that many villages are currently concerned about, this event provided a chance to meet others with the same issue and gain a deeper understanding of the process.  Parish Councillors are invited to contact Laura Atkinson, Rural Housing Enabler at RCCE on 01376 574330, or email if this is an issue in their village.


Recent reports



Link to partners


Defra (Rural Social and Community Programme)


Essex County Council


Braintree District Council


Brentwood District Council


Chelmsford District Council


Colchester District Council


Tendring District Council


Circle Anglia Housing Group


Colne Housing Society


English Rural Housing Association


Flagship Housing Group


Hastoe Housing Association