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Home on the Farm schemes hold key to rural housing crisis

October 12, 2009 12:00 AM

Locally-led initiatives such as Tim Farron's Home on the Farm scheme could help solve rural Britain's affordable housing crisis according to the Countryside Alliance's election manifesto.

The number of people who have been put on social housing waiting lists in rural areas has risen by 54 per cent in 10 years. However, the situation is exacerbated by lower rural wages relative to the cost of homes.

The Countryside Alliance has called for more powers and financial incentives to be given to rural communities to allow them to meet local housing needs.

Under Mr Farron's Home on the Farm proposal, large disused or underused farm buildings are converted into affordable housing with 100% local occupancy.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"The Countryside Alliance is right to acknowledge that the rural housing crisis is the result of a lack of affordable housing combined with lower average wages.

"We are in desperate need of affordable housing in our area. The average house price is £250k while the average wage is around just £17k.

"It's therefore absolutely crucial that we give local communities the freedom and the financial backing to build affordable housing where it is genuinely needed.

"Thirty percent of young people in South Lakeland leave the area and never come back because they are unable to get on the housing ladder. My Home on the Farm scheme will help provide the affordable housing that will stop that trend."