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Affordable Rural Housing

HARAH Rural Design Guide is launched during Rural Housing Week

The Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing (HARAH) is launching its rural design guide this week to help improve the standard of new homes in our communities. Read more here about the new guide here.

Rural Services Network Newsletter

A new quarterly bulletin by the Rural Services Network highlighting a selection of current rural housing issues and opportunities. This is the first edition and will be coming out quarterly.

Hampshire Rural Housing Enablers Celebrate their 10th Birthday in 2012.

The Hampshire Rural Housing Enablers project at Community Action Hampshire is celebrating its 10th birthday in June this year. The project to date has helped to enable more than 395 rural affordable homes to be built in 55 rural villages across Hampshire. A further 121 homes are funded and will be built over the next 1-2 years. In all, helping more than 1000 local people to stay or return to their communities.

The project began in 2002 to help address a now widely acknowledged problem: that house price inflation has pushed open market housing beyond the reach of those on lower rural incomes with the result that many younger and less affluent people were forced to leave their communities to find cheaper, more affordable housing elsewhere. Providing affordable housing to local people helps create balanced communities, breathes fresh life into rural communities and helps ensure that local people stay in their communities whatever their age or circumstance.

The role of the Rural Housing Enablers is to encourage Parish Councils and local communities to identify housing need and engage with the process of developing affordable housing schemes in the parish and then support and assist the Parish Council and local community throughout the process.

Mags Wylie Senior Rural Housing Enabler at Community Action Hampshire said "It’s great to know that this project has helped to leave a lasting legacy in so many peoples life. Lets hope that we, and all our HARAH partners can continue to work together to help create more homes for local people over the next few years”

Watch the new Rural Housing Film

Martin Scheme in The New Forest

The Rural Housing Enablers at Community Action Hampshire have recently been involved with the development of an affordable housing scheme for local people at Martin in the New Forest.

The homes have been built on land owned by New Forest District Council. The scheme consists of 6, two bedroom and three bedroom affordable homes. The homes are due for completion in April 2012.  In addition, part of the land has been used to create a community orchard which will be gifted to the Parish Council and be used by the whole community.

Partners on the scheme include New Forest District Council, Hyde Housing Association, The Homes and Communities Agency and Martin Parish Council.
The homes are built to Life Times Homes Standard to be capable of future accessibility and adaption and Sustainable Code Level 3 which means they have low water usage, ecological enhancements, green building materials and very high levels of thermal efficiency.

As it is in a rural area there is no mains gas so the heating is from zoned panel electric heaters. The hot water is heated by solar power with solar panels located on the south facing roofs. Electrical use is further reduced by the use of low energy lighting both internally and externally. A mechanical heat recovery system is being provided which means that warm damp air is expelled and warm dry air is taken in.

A SUDS drainage system has been used for the surface water drainage to contribute to the sustainability of the scheme.

The houses are of timber frame construction which has been manufactured off site. The windows and doors are all double glazed to also improve insulation. The high level of insulation means that fuel costs should be greatly reduced. 

Many of the materials used in the build have been sourced locally in Hampshire, including the brickwork and fencing. All the timber used in the joinery is Forest Stewardship Council certified which means that it comes from sustainable sources. 

Water usage has been reduced by approximately one third by the installation of dual flush toilets and low flow taps.

Over Wallop, Test Valley, Hampshire

Excited residents of the village of Over Wallop were given the keys to their brand new homes recently.

The eight unit development, Appleton Mews, is the third phase of development on Appleton Close on land purchased from Test Valley Borough Council in co-operation with the local parish council.

The Rural Housing Enablers first made contact with Over Wallop Parish Council in 2007. A housing needs survey was conducted in 2008 which identified a further need for affordable housing in the parish for people with a strong local connection, following this, an appraisal of suitable sites was carried out. Appleton Mews was deemed the best site and a number of community consultation and exhibition events were held before the planning application was formalised to discuss the proposals with the local community. This was an important event that gave local people an opportunity to express support for the scheme and to highlight any concerns they had.
The planning application was a success and the development was completed in late 2011.

Chairman of the Parish Council, Lindsay Murray-Twinn, said: “Appleton Mews has exceeded my expectations; the development fits perfectly into the village surroundings and the quality of the build is excellent.”
A keen supporter of affordable housing in Over Wallop, she added: “I know how difficult it is for young people to get into housing, particularly in rural areas. Since a lot of the council housing stock went into private ownership there is virtually no hope of young people being able to afford even the cheapest home in the village. I am so pleased that the residents of this development all have strong local connections, and some come from families that go back generations.”

The member of one well-known village family was thrilled to be moving into a two bedroom home.
“It feels fantastic to have this beautiful brand-new two-bedroom home. It was just what we wanted after having to live in a small one-bedroom flat. It has really been a godsend.
“It is so hard to get a property; we would not have stood a chance if we’d bid for anything outside of this area. Really, it was the only opportunity for us to stay in the village close to all my family. We both work locally so the location is absolutely ideal -I’m so thrilled I can walk to work.”

Councillor Sandra Hawke, Portfolio Holder for Housing, Health and Communities at Test Valley Borough Council and Chair of HARAH Members Group who visited the development to meet some of the new residents said: "The provision of affordable homes is at the heart of Test Valley Borough Council's corporate plan. We are delighted to be involved in the Appleton Mews development, affordable rural housing is a high priority for the Borough and we work hard with partners to address the shortage. More housing for local people in rural areas helps these communities to grow and thrive it’s the Big Society in action.”


Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing (HARAH) was formed in 2005 to address the need for affordable housing in the villages of Hampshire. The founding members of the Alliance are the Rural Housing Enablers (RHEs), the Homes and Communities Agency and the six rural local authorities in Hampshire:

  • Basingstoke & Deane
  • East Hampshire
  • Hart
  • New Forest District Council
  • Test Valley, and
  • Winchester
  • The New Forest National Park
  • Hampshire County Council

You can find out more about HARAH on their website

Affordable Rural Housing: Lowering the costs

A research project which considered the costs of affordable rural housing was carried out by Rural Housing Enablers at Community Action Hampshire.

It was funded by the Rural Pathfinder programme (a government initiative to improve service delivery to rural areas). The research investigated why rural housing was more expensive to deliver and looked at ways in which costs could be lowered, such as using modern sustainable methods of construction. The learning has been integrated into the HARAH rural scheme development standards.

The report of the project is now available from Community Action Hampshire. Telephone: 01962 857361 or email Mags Wylie 

Affordable Housing: Enabling six years of delivery in rural Hampshire

This report (June 2008), written by CAH's Rural Housing Enablers, offers an overview of the subject, as well as further best practice case studies.

Download here... To obtain a hard copy please contact Mags Wylie.

The link with Community Led Planning

A report researching the link between affordable housing and the Community Led Planning process has been published. The reports results show that Community Led Planning can play a role in developing awareness and prompting action for affordable housing in many communities and in breaking down initial barriers within communities and Parish Councils, towards affordable housing.

Read more here

‘The Nexus of Community Led Planning and Rural Affordable Housing: towards an enhanced process’ by Gavin Parker & Tessa Lynn (University of Reading) Arlene Kersley & Sarah Ward (Community Council for Berkshire, CCB) May 2010.

Further information

For further information or help with rural affordable housing issues please contact:

Mags Wylie phone: 01962 857631

Catherine Kirkham phone: 01962 857362

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