The announcement has been made during Rural Housing Week (1-7 July), which is organised by the National Housing Federation and highlights the contribution that housing associations, like LiveWest, make towards building more quality, affordable homes. The week celebrates the work housing associations do in investing in rural communities, enhancing the local economy and helping to keep local services, such as shops and schools viable.
Nathan Cronk, Director of Development at LiveWest, said: “We know how affordable rural homes make a difference to local people who need to stay in the area where they work, have lived or have family connections. Often the people living in our homes have jobs in the community that keep vital services going, such as providing support to children and older people, teaching, nursing or running the local shop.”
“Over the past two years LiveWest has delivered over 350 new homes in rural locations in the South West and we are stepping up our delivery. We need to challenge the sector to increase the supply of affordable rural housing and continue to contribute positively to ensure a thriving countryside.”
LiveWest has been working on a number of new housing schemes in rural areas across the region.
For example in Uffculme, Mid-Devon LiveWest is currently working on a scheme made up of 11 homes for affordable rent, 10 for shared ownership and 39 for open market sale supporting many local families otherwise priced out of the area. Residents will move into the new homes from September 2019.
Leon Harris, Senior Development Manager at LiveWest said: “The new homes at Uffculme will breathe new life into this beautiful rural community. Rural house building can be key to the survival of vital community assets and services, such as schools, post offices and pubs and we know these homes will really make a difference.”
The new homes are set on the edge of the village of Uffculme, situated on the River Culm close to the Blackdown Hills, an area of natural beauty. The village has a primary and secondary school, local shop, pub, and busy community centre and is nearby to Tiverton. LiveWest is investing in upgrade works to the main road into Uffculme including the provision of two new bus stops. Through the S106 agreement in place, LiveWest will also be giving £164,000 contribution towards education in Uffculme. The profit generated by open market sales is recycled back into LiveWest to enable the provision of more affordable homes.
New trees will be planted on the scheme as well as plants that have been specifically selected to attract and sustain local wildlife. Bird and bat boxes will be provided throughout the estate and
residents will be encouraged to enjoy picnic tables in the green space to really make the most of the rural surroundings.
In Cornwall, LiveWest has recently completed an affordable housing scheme in Goldsithney made up of 9 homes for affordable rent and 9 for shared ownership.
Residents began moving into the £3.9m scheme during March this year. Homes England Funding of £242,000 aided delivery of the scheme that would otherwise have been developed for the open market.
Robert Cock, Head of Development in Cornwall at LiveWest said: “We have worked with local Cornish contractor 3MS to develop a quality housing scheme in an area where there is high affordable housing need but high housing prices, meaning many people are priced out. We are really proud of these homes which look fantastic and are made of local natural materials, including Cornish stone. It is great that we have been able to house so many local people.”
LiveWest has recently delivered the first phase of new homes at Pucklechurch, South Gloucestershire. This part of the development is called Cable Close and provides 8 flats and 12 houses for affordable rent.
The entire scheme will deliver 58 affordable homes by the end of 2019, with 27 allocated for shared ownership and 31 for affordable rent.
Councillor Erica Williams, South Gloucestershire Council Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Public Health, said: “We have had a very positive partnership with LiveWest and this is an excellent use of former council land because it is continuing to make a positive contribution to the community. The Council has also provided around £400,000 from the Housing Enabling Developer Contributions fund to this project.”
“With a growing population, we need new homes. While the discussion about housebuilding is often centred on towns and cities, it is really important to deliver them, sensitively, right across the district. Rural locations need affordable homes so the next generations can stay in or move to these communities and contribute to the countryside economy, allowing them to renew and to be sustainable.”
The affordability of rural homes was thrown into sharp focus by the MORI Issues Index in March 2018, which found 24% of British adults living in rural areas named housing as one of the most important issues facing Britain. Moreover, with the average annual pay being five per cent lower in rural areas compared to urban centres, it is easy to see why rural housing is a hot topic of debate.