LONDON, November 19, 2018
LONDON, November 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
More than 2,000 villages are missing out on new affordable homes because they are classified as unsuitable for growth by the local planning process.
According to new research by the CLA of 70 Local Plans from the most rural local authorities, 2,154 villages across England are judged to be unsustainable. This means housing allocation, including the delivery of affordable homes in these communities is either highly restricted or not permitted, further exacerbating the rural housing crisis.
Cornwall tops the list of areas with the most villages deemed unsustainable at 213, followed by Wiltshire at 168 and Central Lincolnshire with 132.
The CLA has also analysed how 50 local authorities use a settlement hierarchy when deciding where new development will be allocated in a Local Plan. The hierarchy ranks villages by scoring them against a range of services and amenities but the CLA's research revealed that just 18% of local authorities factor in broadband when assessing the sustainability of rural settlements. This is despite the range of services digital connectivity can facilitate, whether grocery shopping online or ordering prescriptions.
Sustainable Villages - making rural communities fit for the future published today (19 November) argues that planning criteria must be updated to reflect how people access services in the 21st century and encourages local authorities to be more proactive in identifying the housing needs of small rural communities.
CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: "Sustainable development is not just for towns and cities. Finding and promoting sustainable solutions for rural communities is vital to the long-term vitality of the countryside.
"Current practices mean small settlements are dependent on very proactive local authorities to meet their needs. Although Cornwall tops the list of the most unsustainable villages, it is in fact an excellent example of a local authority actively addressing the needs of small rural communities despite the classification. Other rural local authorities should follow this lead and use all the mechanisms available to deliver affordable housing.
"Updating rural planning policy to include connectivity in sustainability assessments means English villages will not be trapped in analogue when the rest of the world is in the digital age and can access much of the housing they desperately need."
The report also calls on the Government to step in to address the housing needs of those communities cut off from the Local Plan by requiring a housing needs assessment in villages not allocated any housing.
Mr Breitmeyer said: "Without more opportunities for young people to remain in the local area these small communities face an uncertain future. We want people to be able to live and work in the countryside but they are being held back by a lack of affordable homes. Mandatory housing needs assessments will improve our understanding of the rural housing crisis and will help towards building desperately needed homes in the right areas."
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. Top 10 areas identified by the CLA with the most unsustainable villages:
Cornwall 213 Wiltshire 168 Central Lincolnshire 132 South Oxfordshire 102 East Riding of Yorkshire 101 South Worcestershire 97 Kings Lynn & West Norfolk 84 South Northamptonshire 82 Bassetlaw 77 Huntingdonshire 75
2. An unsustainable settlement is one that ranks towards the bottom of a settlement hierarchy as it is not judged to have the necessary level of services to warrant a housing allocation in the Local Plan.
It is therefore either denied any development or has significant limitations on the type of development that can take place in the settlement (e.g. only infilling or windfall sites permitted).
Settlements that have had their settlement boundaries removed are also classed as unsustainable due to the restrictions this places on development.
3. 26 of out of the 70 mostly rural local authorities surveyed by the CLA do not list their villages deemed as 'unsustainable' in their Local Plan so the total number is likely to be significantly higher than those identified by the CLA. In the case of the 2,154 villages, both housing allocations via the Local Plan and economic development are either highly restrictive or not permissible.
4. The CLA analysed the services assessed by 50 rural local authorities when compiling settlement hierarchies. The table below shows the services assessed as well as the percentage of local authorities that include the particular service when assessing sustainability.
% of Local Authorities that include service in Service hierarchy Post Office 98% Primary School 96% Food Shop 96% GP 96% Meeting Place/Village Hall 94% Pub 92% Bus Service 92% Library 86% Secondary school 78% Recreation space 72% Other shops 62% Employment 62% Sports Facilities 54% Banks 48% Cafe/Restaurant/Takeaway 44% Petrol Station 44% Pharmacy 42% Pre-School 38% Garage 22% Population 22% Broadband 18% Specialist care facilities 10% Telephone Box 2%
5. CLA members own or manage more than 10 million acres of rural land across England and Wales
As a membership organisation, the CLA supports landowners by advising them on how best to protect and maximise their asset: the land. We are dedicated to supporting landowners and their businesses. Our success is measured by how effectively we do that. We have a team of experts in London and a regional structure able to give local support.
We have been looking after the interests of our members, as well as promoting the positive aspects of land ownership, land management and rural business activities for the past 100 years. CLA members own or manage approximately half the rural land in England and Wales, and the resulting expertise puts us in a unique position to formulate policies and lobby effectively.