Challenges and opportunities for Hampshire in Rural Housing Week

The average working person in Hampshire villages would need a 150% pay rise in order to buy a local home, as delegates learnt at Rural Housing Week events organised by HARAH. Rural house prices are around 26% higher than those in our cities, but rural workers earn around £7,000 less than their urban counterparts each year. Fortunately, delegates also heard how new affordable housing schemes can help meet the needs of people struggling to remain or work in their village.

Since 2005 the HARAH partnership has worked together to build over 400 affordable homes housing over 1400 people in villages across the county, 99% of whom already lived or worked in the village, or had close family there.

HARAH organised two events to celebrate national Rural Housing Week 2017 (3- 7 July) - one in Wickham and one in Binstead. Over 65 people attended the events, representing their local villages or organisations working locally. As well as enjoying a delicious cream tea, delegates were able to listen to a number of expert speakers and to visit local affordable housing schemes that showed how new housing can also help the survival of vital community assets and services, such as schools, post offices and pubs

Councillor Caroline Horrill, leader of Winchester City Council told delegates how rural housing was a ‘personal passion’ of hers and how the council benefited from the ‘knowledge, experience and enthusiasm of HARAH’.

Nic Holliday of Wickham Parish Council welcomed delegates on a tour around the community led scheme built in the village and told them ‘the spirit the scheme engenders is amazing’. One local resident told delegates how the Wickham scheme had allowed her to remain close to her parents, how this benefitted her own children,and how otherwise she would have had to rent a private flat some distance away

After hearing the speakers and visiting schemes, one parish councillor commented that the event had shown ‘affordable housing is possible if you try hard enough, and there are organisations who can help’ and Ann Newman from Droxford said ‘it was lovely to meet such a lovely group of positive people’, echoing the sentiments of many attending who said they now planned to talk to others in their village to see how they could work with HARAH in the future to provide new homes locally.

HARAH will complete over 100 new homes in the next year and continues to look for new opportunities to help house rural Hampshire residents.

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