Reasons and Visions
There is little doubt that England’s ‘green and pleasant land’ is one of our greatest assets; it is the reason we flock to the countryside and coastal areas whenever we can, and many of us dream of retiring to rural or coastal idyll one day. But there are many challenges that, if left unaddressed, could threaten the future of our non-urban communities, such as:
- A lack of appropriate affordable housing for local communities to remain, grow and thrive;
- An acute shortage of homes for people to downsize to so that, as we age, we can remain in the communities we belong to and continue to receive their support; and
- A shortage of affordable business units to provide opportunities for a thriving and diverse rural economy.
The House of Lords Select Committee report on ‘A Time for a Strategy for the Rural Economy’ (2017-2019) stated:
…Successive governments have underrated the contribution rural economies can make to the nation’s prosperity and wellbeing. They have applied policies which were largely devised for urban and suburban economies, and which are often inappropriate for rural England. This must change. With rural England at a point of major transition, a different approach is urgently needed.”
The urgent challenge is to encourage the new opportunities, release unfulfilled potential and enhance the contribution which rural England can make to the nation while retaining its distinct character…”
The A Different Approach (‘ADA’) vision is to encourage, promote and actively deliver a range of new and innovative housing solutions in our rural communities – to help combat the challenges identified by aforementioned Select Committee Report whilst also providing affordable workplaces to ensure wherever possible a thriving and dynamic economic future for rural areas.
ADA is committed to working with local authorities and listening to the needs and voices of the communities in which we work, to drive forward a collaborative and cohesive approach towards the formulation of local housing policies, the implementation of planning considerations, and the provision of functional rural working spaces.
We recognise that without an adequate supply of affordable workspaces (as well as housing) it is difficult for rural businesses to flourish; and whilst there is clearly a shortage of housing of various types and tenures, particularly for the working age population, the need for a greater focus on delivery of affordable housing in rural areas must go hand in hand with a commitment to also providing work spaces that will stimulate and sustain the local economy.
We at ADA believe that the delivery of this change for our rural communities should start at grass roots level, and that is why we place our focus on:
- Community led housing: local people playing a leading and lasting role in solving local housing problems.
- Listening to the local people: using the tools available to us to design and deliver housing solutions to meet their needs.
- Supporting existing groups such as Community Land Trusts (‘CLTs’): Locally led charities supporting small-scale new development, encouraging local participation projects designed to meet rural housing needs.
- Developing different types of housing models to help meet needs across all income brackets and generations.
- Working collectively to create sustainable and wellbalanced communities (to include affordable work-units), future proofed for generations to come.
Delivering purpose-built homes for older people at a social rent and homes for younger people within the same community to encourage transgenerational support, reducing loneliness and isolation, and promoting integration.
Meeting the needs of the ‘right-sizing generation’ by offering the over 55s a pathway to community based downsizing (enabling them to remain close to those people they feel comfortable with and committed to).
Many adults with learning and/or physical disabilities are unable to access the housing and support they need. We recognise that the right support at the right time can have a significant positive impact on quality of life, outcomes and value for money.
Saving for a deposit continues to be the single biggest barrier to home ownership in this country. Rentplus is an affordable rent to buy model which offers an accessible route to home ownership for those who are currently excluded from the market, with the opportunity to rent, save and own through a combination of affordable rents and a 10% gifted deposit.
A form of housing which combines private living spaces with shared communal facilities – such as shared kitchen, dining and relaxation areas – creating a community-centred environment that not only gives privacy in living arrangements but also promotes social contact by providing the type of social spaces valued by younger people.
Fully serviced affordable self-build plots providing a route to home ownership for those with the necessary skills to build their own home. Plots are provided at a 20% discount on market value complete with the required
infrastructure. We also envisage a range of ‘add-ons’ which the developer can deliver at a fixed price for those needing additional support.
Enabling families to live all together more economically, combatting (i) expensive childcare, and (ii) generational or circumstantial loneliness and isolation.
A new affordable way of enabling local business owners to purchase a business unit on a shared ownership basis. The purchase agreement allows the owner to staircase and increase their share as and when they have
adequate funds in their pension. Once they staircase to 100% they will own the unit outright and 100% of the asset in their pension.