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Rural Housing

Rural Housing Strategy

The Rural Housing Strategy for Swale and gives a set of priorities and actions needed to ensure affordable rural homes are developed in areas of need for local people while also striving to improve access to housing services for those living in rural communities.

View the Rural Housing Strategy document.

Rural Housing Needs Programme

This programme aims to increase the provision of affordable housing in rural areas to meet local housing need and will be achieved through a series of housing needs surveys across several parishes. This is the first step in a long and robust consultation process that strives to deliver local needs housing for those with a strong connection to a village.

To enable the delivery of rural homes for local people; we work closely with parish councils and through joint partnership working with the Rural Housing Enabler from Action with Communities in Rural Kent; a local housing need survey is carried out with independent support and advice continually being available throughout the process.

Successful partnership working and community involvement has already led to several high-quality rural local needs housing schemes being developed in Swale; most recently at Lynsted and Lower Halstow. These homes are for local people to ensure they can continue to live or return to a rural village where they have a connection; enabling villages to flourish and become sustainable communities.

If you would like more information regarding rural affordable housing or are interested in a housing need survey for your parish contact our Housing Team.

Programme 2010 - 2013

2010 - 2011 Doddington Site search completed landowners to be contacted.
  Leysdown and Warden Site search complete, site to be agreed
2011 - 2012 Boughton Housing needs survey completed Oct 2011.
  Sheldwich, Badlesmere and Leaveland Housing needs survey to be completed Jan 2012
2012 - 2013 Borden Housing needs survey be undertaken 2012/2013
  Tonge Housing needs survey be undertaken 2012/2013

Upchurch Parish Council had a housing needs survey completed prior to 2010. They are actively searching for a suitable site with the potential to develop a small rural affordable local needs housing scheme.

Quarterly Update

We adopted our first Rural Housing Strategy in October 2011 which focuses on the approach needed to deliver high quality local needs housing and associated services in areas of need for local people.

Through strong partnership working, local involvement and community participation we continue to work on understand housing need in rural areas and enable opportunities to increase the number of affordable homes in rural communities where there is an identified need. The Rural Housing Needs Programme 2010-13 has been successful in meeting the aim of engaging six parishes to join the programme undertaking housing needs surveys and site searches to explore the potential of delivering a small local needs affordable housing scheme in local villages.

This Programme shows localism in action in Swale; through effective partnership working with local communities and the parish councils. We have met the initial programme of housing needs surveys but continue to work with key partners, parish councils and rural communities beyond 2013 to build a picture of housing need in rural areas of Swale and start the development of local needs affordable homes that are driven by a demonstrated need at a local level.

More Information

Action with Communities in Rural Kent

The Rural Housing Enabler from Action with Communities in Rural Kent provides impartial advice and support to Parish Councils and rural communities. Through a housing needs survey the need for affordable housing in each participating village is established and throughout the process assistance is provided with liaising with the local planning authority; and housing associations to develop a local needs housing scheme.

Website: Rural Kent

English Rural Housing Association

English Rural Housing Association is one of the main affordable rural housing developers who work in partnership with many organisations including local authorities, engaging with local communities to overcome housing problems that commonly affect rural communities.

Website: English Rural Housing Association

Kent Rural Housing Protocol

"Rural Homes: supporting Kents rural communities" was launched in June 2011 and provides a procedure to assist in the successful delivery of affordable local needs housing across rural Kent. It defines the practical approach required to ensure the delivery of affordable rural local needs housing which in itself will lead to increased and continued prosperity for rural communities and businesses alike.

Website: Kent Housing Group - Rural Protocol (PDF)

Rural Exception sites

Rural communities have a unique opportunity to build affordable homes for local people in areas where development would not normally be permitted. Government advice allows for land on the edge of villages to be released for affordable housing as an exception to normal policy of development in the countryside; these areas are known as Rural Exception Sites. Any application for affordable housing in rural areas must have the support of the Parish Council, and meet a local need as identified through consultation and a Housing Needs Survey. In Swale clear and transparent Local Lettings Agreements for rural affordable developments already exist and have been used to support and sustain rural communities by carefully considering each rural allocation to ensure a balanced community life is maintained.

Optivo ( formerly AmicusHorizon )

Optivo have developed thirteen affordable homes in Boughton. These homes are were built on an existing Optivo owned site which previously accommodated Whatman House, an old sheltered housing scheme. Whatman House was demolished early in 2010, and work began on the new development in November 2010. It was completed in December 2011 and has recently received a ˜High Commendation of excellence in the rural category from Kent Housing Group.

The site is not classed as a rural exception site as it sits within the village boundary; but it is still governed by a Section 106 planning agreement ensuring local people with a connection to Boughton have priority to the homes. In total the site will provide 5 houses and 8 flats for people who are in need of an affordable home. 2 of the new homes are for disabled residents, and the properties are being built around their occupational therapists requirements. The homes were allocated through the Choice Based Lettings Scheme.

Website: Optivo Housing Association

Homes and Communities Agency - Rural Housing Link

Through partnership working with stakeholders; local authorities; Registered Providers and rural communities the HCA aims to increase the delivery of affordable housing and to release land for the development of sustainable, affordable rural homes.

Website: Rural Affordable Housing

The Rural Services Network is devoted to safeguarding and improving services in rural communities across England. 

Once on the website you are able to access specific information relating to a local authority by selecting the 'My Council' tab. 

Rural Housing Strategy

The rural housing strategy focuses on how to deliver rural affordable housing in areas of need.
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