Rural Housing Development Action Plan 2008/09 – 2012/13

In recent years house prices have increased rapidly, particularly in rural areas where house price inflation has been exacerbated by inward migration of wealthy commuters, retirees and second home owners. This has created an affordability gap for many local people between what they can afford to pay for a home and the actual cost of the home.

The result is that many local people are no longer able to buy or rent a home in the village they grew up and/or work in and have to leave to find suitable accommodation elsewhere. This in turn impacts on the age mix within a community, its social diversity and cultural identity. Valuable social and support networks are broken.

It also impacts on the economic vibrancy of rural communities which are increasingly composed of older retired people or wealthy commuters who work elsewhere and are less likely to use the local amenities and facilities such as the local school and shop. These factors can result in a lack of social cohesion and long term sustainability for the community.

The main focus for this action plan is the rural areas and settlements of less than 3000 people, the settlements that are eligible for small settlement rural funding from the Homes and Communities Agency. The South East Regional Housing Board has a rural funding target for settlements under 3000. It has a target of 500 homes per annum across the South East region. HARAH (see page 4) has a target of 100 completed homes per annum. There is no specific target for Winchester District.

The action plan concentrates on the provision of affordable housing for people with a local connection to a particular parish, on exception sites. These are sites that lie beyond the settlement boundary of the parish and can only be developed for residential use as an exception to planning policy if the homes are affordable; for local people; and will remain so in perpetuity.