Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Concern over rural affordable housing shortage

Rural areas are suffering a shortage of affordable housing, the Bishop of Bath & Wells has warned.

The Right Reverend Peter Price told the House of Lords this week that the shortage was affecting the wellbeing of rural communities.

He suggested all new housing projects in rural areas be "mandated" to include affordable housing.

"The dearth of affordable social housing in rural communities impacts upon the mental, physical and spiritual health of such communities," he said.

Responding to his comments, Baroness Hanham said most affordable housing projects in rural areas "tend to be small" and only available where land or housing has been protected for rural people.

"We know that there is shared ownership, social rent, affordable rent and intermediate rent, so there should be a reasonable spread across the country," she said.

Christian charities have warned in the past that people in some rural communities are being priced out by second home owners.

Christian charity Housing Justice has responded to the shortage by launching the Faith in Affordable Housing project inviting churches to make their unused property or land available for housing.

The project has recently expanded into Wales.

Alex Glanville, head of property services at the Church in Wales and a member of the project’s steering group said, “This is an exciting project which could benefit people in desperate need of housing. It will also help churches free up land or space they don’t use and enable them to invest more in the community.”

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