History of HARAH

HARAH was formed in 2005. The partnership grew out of the steering group for the Rural Housing Enablers, which had been meeting for 4 years prior to the formation of HARAH . Our main aim is to increase the supply of affordable housing in the rural villages of Hampshire, to ensure local people are able to afford to live in the places where they were brought up, work, or have family connections, and in doing so to help strengthen rural communities.

The members of HARAH are Action Hampshire which hosts the Hampshire Rural Enablers (RHEs), Homes England, Hampshire County Council, five rural local authorities in Hampshire - East Hampshire, Hart, New Forest, Test Valley, Winchester, New Forest National Park Authority and South Downs National Park Authority.

HARAH has selected Hampshire Village Homes as its development partner. Hampshire Village Homes are a consortium of 5 housing providers working together: Hastoe, English Rural, Winchester Housing Trust, PHA Homes and New Forest Villages Housing Association. Partners in Hampshire Village Homes develop and manage the affordable homes for HARAH. They were selected through a competitive selection process involving a number of housing providers.

What do we do?
We build small groups of affordable homes in rural villages for local people, to enable people with strong local connections to a parish to remain or return there.

Officers within the HARAH partnership work as a team, together with the local community, usually represented by the Parish Council, to identify local housing need and develop suitable affordable housing to meet the need.

Our target is to build 50 new affordable homes for local people each year until 2020. By the end of March 2017 we had contributed a total of 400 new affordable homes in 43 villages.

What are the benefits?
Providing affordable homes for local people enables local people on more modest incomes, including people with young families, to be able to remain or return to the village they grew up in. This helps to retain a mixed community.

Local people are more likely to use the local amenities and facilities such as the school, shop, pub and church which helps them to stay open.

They may also work locally in local businesses and farming and therefore help support the local economy.

In villages in which local amenities have already closed, a small number of affordable homes can help maintain the vibrancy of the community and prevent it becoming a dormitory settlement of commuters and retired people.

The Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing (HARAH) was formed in 2005. Details of who we are can be found on the home page.

HARAH is different

HARAH was set up to make a difference to the provision of affordable housing in the villages of Hampshire. Historically many rural people have been forced to leave areas where they were brought up and have family ties, or where they work because they simply cannot afford the housing and this can lead to the erosion of communities. Whilst many successful rural housing schemes have been built in Hampshire villages, these have often taken a long time to provide, due to the difficulties of finding sites, land negotiations, obtaining funding and planning etc. HARAH was formed to help make the provision of rural affordable housing more efficient, provide housing of consistent high quality and increase the availability of funding to provide more affordable homes to local people in a shorter timescale. Read more about HARAH's success in providing homes for local people..

Where we work

HARAH works in the villages covered by the 5 rural local authority areas of Hampshire. We specifically work on rural exceptions sites, where planning is only given because there is a demonstrable need for affordable housing in that area. The planning consent gained on these sites restricts the housing to local people in housing need. Through planning conditions set out in the Section 106 agreement, the housing must remain affordable housing for local people in perpetuity.

HARAH’s work supports the long term sustainability of villages. We see our involvement as more than just building homes

Our vision is:

‘To ensure that communities are sustainable and inclusive by enabling an increase in the supply of affordable housing to meet needs.’

HARAH’s Memorandum of Understanding  sets out our purposes, our structure and the terms of arrangement of the partners.

HARAH’s Development Partner

On 1st June 2016 HARAH began working with a new development partner. Hampshire Village Homes were selected following a competitive selection process in 2015/16 involving a number of registered housing providers. Hampshire Village Homes are a consortium of 5 housing providers with a strong history of providing quality rural housing.

The Hyde Group (Hyde) were HARAH's development partner from 2005 to 2016, providing a significant number of new affordable homes. Hyde will continue to work on projects that they had in the pipeline prior to June 2016.

HARAH's partnership approach

HARAH has been quoted as an example of best practice by the Affordable Rural Housing Commissions Final Report,  the Commission for Rural Communities' Making it Happen – HARAH and the Audit Commission's 'Building Better Lives' case study.  We also have case studies on the HCA’s Rural Project website.

Officers within the HARAH partnership work as a team, together with the local community, usually represented by the Parish Council. The Rural Housing Enablers are the main link with the local community and Parish Council at the start of the process. They work closely with the Local Authority officers in housing and planning and with Hampshire Village Homes, who are the developers. Once the site is chosen and the proposals start being drafted, Hampshire Village Homes play the key role, liaising closely with the community, the planners and the contractors.

The 10 stage guide to developing rural housing provides more information about the roles of the officers within the HARAH partnership. 

We have a library containing documents about HARAH together with local and national publications about rural affordable housing. 

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