One issue constantly being raised by residents is that of affordable housing. It is increasingly difficult for young people to find accommodation in rural villages because of both availability and cost.
At the present moment, East Riding of Yorkshire Council has 65 applications on the waiting list for houses in the Howdenshire village Holme on Spalding Moor (HOSM), and a further 239 applicants requesting consideration for re-housing into the village as one of their areas of choice. But the council has just 45 properties in the village – almost all occupied.
In areas such as HOSM, where homes are required, much new affordable housing is linked to new housing developments where a proportion of those new houses are affordable. But this can mean that unless there is allocated building land in the village, there is little scope for building the required affordable properties. This can be overcome by working in partnership with specialist affordable housing providers who can build on Green Field sites.
Gaining this dispensation is dependant on the communities bidding for affordable housing to match the identified need – those villages that want to grow by allowing children to leave home to live alone or with spouses/partners, without leaving their communities to do so.
Affordable housing required could be a mixture of not just rented accommodation, but also Homebuy shared ownership – which means young people, who would not have the opportunity to conventionally get onto the first rung of the property ladder, then have the opportunity through this shared ownership – paying part rent and part mortgage.
Allowing young people to remain in the villages in which they grew up is a very important element of community cohesion in most rural settlements. This is why it is important that local people, such as the HOSM Parish Council, who, through the Parish Plan, have identified the housing requirements of residents, make decisions on affordable housing.
So, in a nutshell, if affordable housing is to be provided in rural villages, the priority must be given to those who have a connection with the village, rather than further afield. This can only improve the village by allowing people to live and stay in their own community, and I fully support Parish Councils in what they are doing in this area.