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CIA - Rural Housing

Community Impact Assessment - Rural Housing

Full Assessment Form v1 2010

Service - Housing Services
Title of Policy, Function Or Service - Rural Housing Sub Strategy
Lead Officer - Rebecca Walker
People Involved With the CIA - Kerry Newbury (Head of Housing Strategy), Tessa OSullivan (Rural Housing Enabler), Alison Thompson (English Rural Housing), David Simmons (Councillor)
Type of Policy, Function Or Service - New/Proposed

Step 1 - Make Sure You Have Clear Aims and Objectives

What Is The Aim of Your Policy Or New Service?

This sub strategy focuses on the approach needed to deliver high quality rural affordable housing in areas of need for local people and it will determine the unique requirements in accessing services. Through a process of consultation this Sub Strategy has pledged, where possible and appropriate, to enable solutions to rural housing issues and through close working relationships ensure local accountability and delivery.

The four main objectives of this sub strategy are:

The overall aim of the Rural Housing sub strategy is:

The Rural Housing Sub Strategy also supports the Corporate Plan which places emphasis on ensuring that there is sufficient affordable housing provision suitable for local needs; and the Local Sustainable Community Strategy Ambitions for Swale which focuses on the need to improve the provision of affordable housing in rural areas.

Who Is The Policy Or Service Going To Benefit and How?

The policy will benefit residents and communities of Swale who live in rural areas by seeking out potential new development sites in villages where there is a clear, identified need and desire for affordable housing. Focus is on vulnerable groups within these areas such as older people, low income households and those whose current living conditions require updating and improving. The sub strategy will deal with accessibility to the Housing service and how this could be improved to ensure those living in rural areas are able to access advice and support regarding housing in Swale effortlessly in a user-friendly, affordable manner.

It will benefit the main registered housing providers within Swale. Through positive advertising it will be shown that new rural affordable developments can be created in agreement with village residents that are sympathetic to local peoples needs as well as the village environment.

This sub strategy will provide a planned focus on increasing the delivery of sustainable and required local needs housing in rural areas that is affordable and will be advertised and allocated through Choice Based Lettings.

What Outcomes Do You Want To Achieve?

  1. Increase the supply of affordable housing in rural areas to meet local demand by initially providing local needs housing schemes in 6 Parishes in Swale.
  2. Promote rural housing initiatives and schemes whilst improving access to housing advice and support by ensuring information is easily accessible to those in rural areas.
  3. Improve housing conditions and reduce fuel poverty within rural areas

What Barriers Are There To Achieving These Outcomes?

STEP 2 - Collecting your information

What Existing Information/Data Do You Have?

This system captures the clients we work with by Gender, Age, Disability, Ethnicity, however, but most of the data does not capture information regarding religion/belief, sexual orientation and social/economic details.

Using Your Existing Data What Does It Tell You?

There are many people living in rural areas of Swale who have an existing housing need. When analysed the housing register revealed that every Parish except Luddenham; which cannot be specifically chosen on the housing register; has some level of housing need.

There needs to be a significant increase in the provision of affordable rural housing for both rent and sale across the borough.

There are areas of deprivation in rural neighbourhoods of Swale such as Sheppey, Newington, Teynham and Doddington some of which are the most deprived across Kent.

21% of households in rural communities have an income of less than 60% of the national average with many of these households needing some type of financial assistance to enable them to meet their reasonable housing aspirations.

Rural housing development is fundamental to addressing issues such as increasing waiting lists for affordable housing and diminishing young families in villages which has resulted in the loss of local services such as schools and shops.

Rural households are more likely to have a member of the household suffering from respiratory illness and/or, have someone in the household with a disability.

Fuel poverty effects many rural households and fuel disadvantage impacts on all aspects of health and financial well-being. When taking into account ˜basic and ˜full income households; the top three Wards within Swale (those that been included within the rural housing needs programme) who have the greatest fuel poverty are Queenborough and Halfway, Sheppey Central, Hartlip, Newington and Upchurch.

A third of Swales population live within rural areas, and within these areas there can be significant and severe affordability problems for the local community with lower-waged locally employed residents struggling to access accommodation that is affordable.

The information and data used is vast and cuts across national, regional and local data. It shows that the current economic climate is having an increasing detrimental effect on rural areas and housing, income is low yet housing and other costs are continuing to rise and there is a real need for affordable homes in rural areas for local people. It also highlights the need to increase provision of information across rural areas as local communities are not always aware of the services Swale Borough Council are able to provide in relation to Housing advice and support.

STEP 3 - What is the Impact?

Is there an Impact on some groups in the community? (Think about race, disability, age, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation and other social excluded communities or groups

Answer: This policy is open to everyone who signs up to the housing register, which has its own specific criteria to meet but is in no way bias against groups in the community. The addition of affordable housing in rural areas will benefit the community as a whole. Certain impacts that may affect all groups include:

Ethnicity Or Race

There is no discussion in the strategy of white people specifically.

There is no discussion in the strategy of Gypsy/Travellers specifically.

BME Groups
There is no discussion in the strategy of BME Groups specifically, there is a lack of data in this area relating to rural housing to develop specific actions or assess the possible impact.

Affordable housing in rural areas will only be available to those who meet the eligibility criteria.

Gender or Transgender

The impact is not specifically considered in the strategy. The Milestone action plan should benefit men and women equally. There may be areas where those affected by the strategy are disproportionate of a particular gender; for example lone parents. Further research could be done to consider whether there are different impacts.

The generic approach now adopted in housing advice and allocations ensures that the development of affordable housing should benefit both men and women in housing need. Particular areas where negative impacts could arise and further research is needed for women includes:


The needs of this group are not specifically considered in this sub strategy; there is a lack of data regarding this group in relation to rural housing. Further research is required to assess the possible impact.

Affordable housing in rural areas will only be available to those who meet the eligibility criteria through the Choice Based Lettings System and Gender or transgender is recorded at application stage.


Older people (50 +)
There are specific recommendations regarding older people living in rural communities. This is highlighted in relation to ensuring older residents do not become isolated; living in unfit housing and where possible support is in place to enable older and vulnerable members of these communities to remain in their homes or a new alternative home in the area where they have lived for many years.

Energy efficiency and fuel poverty is also discussed and is of particular benefit to this group.

Although affordable rural housing is open to those on the housing registered who have a local connection to the rural area; it is possible that this group could be disadvantaged because it requires them to actively bid for properties through Kent Homechoice, however, the introduction of digital tv bidding has seen an increase in the over 50s bidding for properties.

Younger people (17-25yrs) and children
Young households are discussed in the sub strategy in relation to the reduction of these households in villages which has had a direct impact on the loss of local services such as schools and shops. The importance of enabling younger and lower-paid residents to continue to be able to afford to live in their rural communities is important to ensure out migration of younger households is minimised and the continuation and development of rural communities for future generations.


Rural households are more likely to include someone who suffers with a disability (Sensory, Learning, Mental Health) or long term illness and many of these households are experiencing fuel debt. Swale has a range of ˜loan and grant products available which can assist households suffering from fuel poverty and there also disabled facility grants available.

The Home Choice system may have a negative impact because it requires applicants to actively bid for housing. Disabled people are competing against other general needs households in accessing certain types of housing - e.g. level access ground floor units and large family units. However new build rural homes are developed for future adaptations and local needs sites can cater for specific households and be built with their needs in mind.

Religion Or Belief

The Rural Housing sub Strategy should benefit all faith groups. Muslim doctrine on borrowing money could mean an emphasis on home ownership disadvantages this group, but the Strategy prioritises the need for social rented homes as well. There are no particular actions relating to faith groups in the delivery plan. Particular needs of faith groups in housing design could be an issue also there are limited resources for larger properties that extended families may require in some cultures such as Asian families.

Rural areas may not have the appropriate places of worship for some faith groups which could lead to travel out to main cities and towns.

Sexual Orientation

General policies to increase supply of affordable housing, improve advice services and improve private sector housing could benefit this group. There is no discussion of this group specifically in the Strategy or milestone report.

Other Socially Excluded Groups Or Communities e.g. People Living in Rural Communities Or in Areas of Deprivation, People With Low Literacy Skills, Carers

Overall this sub strategy has been developed to address the needs of a specific group. Access to housing service for those living in rural areas is more difficult and costly. This sub strategy aims primarily to increase the current shortage in the provision of affordable rural housing and enable younger and lower-paid residents to live in these communities whilst ensuring the older and more vulnerable residents can continue to live in a secure and comfortable home.

Swale is the second most deprived borough in Kent and rurally there are severe pockets of deprivation across the borough. The sub strategy identifies that we need to help tackle problems of worklessness and low incomes ensuring affordable housing is available to those contributing to their rural economy.

Contributing to Cohesive Communities of building relationships between community groups

The strategy will positively impact on community cohesion and relationships between community groups by:

STEP 4 - What Are The Differences?

Are Any Groups Affected In A Different Way To Others As A Result of The Policy, Project Or Service?

This sub strategy addresses the housing needs of rural communities only and as such does not meet the needs of other groups who are also in need of social housing. Certain communities are more in need of housing assistance and this strategy attempts to improve access to the service by way of direct assistance and increasing affordable, local needs housing for rural areas.

Does Your Policy, Project or Service Directly Or Indirectly Discriminate?

Answer: Yes

Additional Information - If Yes How Are You Going To Change This?

Answer: This strategy is targeted at one specific group of people - those living in rural areas, however effort can be made to ensure that the needs of all groups within rural communities are met.

STEP 5 - Youre Almost There - Now You Need To Consult!

Who Have You Consulted With?

User involvement data base

Task and finish group

Parish councils

Other stakeholders such as registered providers and Council members

If You Have Not Consulted Yet Please List Who and How You Are Going To Consult With Specific Groups Or Communities?

Answer: The consultation process is ongoing throughout the life of the rural housing sub housing strategy through various actions including discussion around new rural development sites which has heavy community involvement.

STEP 6 - Make A Decision Based On Steps 2 - 5

If You Are In A Position To Change Or Introduce The Policy, Project Or Service Clearly Show How It Was Decided On

The Rural Housing Sub Strategy has been born from the Housing Strategy 2010-2015 which places great emphasis on the need to increase rural affordable housing and improve access to housing services for those living in rural areas.

Consultation with stakeholders and members of rural communities provided support for a rural housing strategy and the potential future development of local needs housing schemes within rural areas.

What Changes Or Benefits Have Been Made As A Result Of Your Consultation?

Answer: Increase delivery of  rural affordable housing for those with a local connection.

Increased focus access to services for those living within rural areas.

If You Are In A Position To Introduce The Policy, Project Or Service But Still Have Information To Collect Or Actions To Complete To Ensure All Community Groups Have Been Covered (Please List Actions With Timescales)

Information To Collect/Actions To Complete

Consultation questionnaire results regarding access to housing services for those living in rural areas.

Timescale for Completion: 14.03.11

Consultation on draft of the Rural Housing Sub Strategy.

Timescale for Completion: 31.03.11

If You Are Not In A Position To Go Ahead What Actions Are You Going To Take? (Please List Actions With Timescales)

Information To Collect/Actions To Complete

Answer: N/A

Timescale for Completion: N/A

How Are You going To Monitor the Policy, Project Or Service, How Often and Who Will Be Responsible?

The Rural Housing Task and Finish Group liaise regularly and meet on average three times a year to review the progress of the strategy and the milestone action plan; monitoring outcomes whilst continuing to take actions forward. This group will also review the community impact assessment regularly taking forward the actions highlighted.

STEP 7 - Congratulations You've Made It! Now Publish Your Results

An electronic copy of your completed CIA has been sent to the Policy and Performance Team. We will contact you any comments or queries about your full CIA. Once Approved A Copy Will Be Published On Our Website.

This CIA Has Been Approved By: Chris Bryant
Date: 11/04/2011
Contact Number: 01795 417318

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