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Government launches scheme to boost rural housing levels

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  • 06/06/2023
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Government launches scheme to boost rural housing levels
The government has announced plans to create a network of ‘housing enablers’, with the aim of boosting levels of affordable housing to rent or buy in rural areas.

The move is part of a joint drive between a handful of government departments, including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which it is hoped will help drive the rural economy.

The housing enablers will act as “honest brokers” between developers and local communities, according to the government, tasked with helping to identify sites for development which have local support and will be in keeping with the local area.

Alongside the introduction of housing enablers, the government said it would also be consulting on ways to make it easier for farmers to convert agricultural buildings that are no longer needed into family homes.

This could include streamlining the planning process, while giving local authorities new powers to safeguard against the properties being used as second homes or holiday lets.

Other measures within the plans include a £7m fund to improve broadband connectivity in rural regions, boosting local transport links and improving electricity infrastructure. 

 

‘A pipeline of rural housing’

Michael Gove (pictured), secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, said the government wanted more local people to “reap the rewards of homeownership” while still maintaining the character of those areas.

He continued: “We will be unlocking a new pipeline of rural housing as we continue to reform our planning system and offering greater freedoms on farm buildings to support a new supply of affordable homes and businesses.

“Our commitment to build more affordable homes is why we are investing £11.5bn over five years in our Affordable Homes Programme.”

Last year, the government dropped plans for compulsory housing targets, watering them down to be simply ‘advisory’, following a backbench rebellion.

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