Representatives from local councils and housing associations in Oxfordshire came together recently to celebrate the completion of the 500th new affordable home in the region and to hear about the need for more homes in our rural communities.
The rural housing conference was hosted by one of the country’s most successful housing partnerships, the Oxfordshire Rural Housing Partnership (ORHP).
GreenSquare executive director Andrew Smith, chair of the ORHP, opened the conference with a brief history of the ORHP while stressing the need for more affordable housing in our rural communities.
Andrew said: “73% of country dwellers recognise that young people and families are being priced out of our rural communities. To ensure we maintain vibrant and sustainable villages we are going to have to ensure that we work together as communities to deliver good quality, well designed, affordable rural housing.”
He also highlighted the fact that the average home in the rural south east costs 14 times the average income, compared to 11.5 times in urban areas. While nine in ten people living in the countryside wish to stay there compared to two in ten wishing to stay in urban areas, of those in the 30-45 year old age bracket who had moved away, many are returning to back to their roots.
Other speakers included Jamie Sullivan of DTZ; Helen Novelle, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils; and guest speaker Nick Mould from the Duchy of Cornwall who spoke eloquently from the perspective of a landowner about development projects in the Duchy area.
The ORHP works closely with Parish Councils and local communities to provide high-quality new affordable housing to allow local people to continue to contribute to the future sustainability of their villages.