Event highlights rural housing issues
A special event in Stafford has put the lack of affordable homes in the countryside firmly in the spotlight.
At the start of National Rural Housing Week (July 6 – 10) the event at the Gatehouse Theatre in Stafford was organised by Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) and Stafford Borough Council.
Aimed primarily at local borough and parish councillors, it highlighted the fact that one in three people in Stafford Borough live in rural areas and showcased some of the excellent new affordable developments being delivered by SARH in rural areas around Stafford. Amongst them was the successful Highfield Close development in Swynnerton, which is due to be officially opened on Wednesday, July 8.
Karen Armitage, SARH Chief Executive, commented: “Providing affordable homes is essential to give local people the chance to stay in the areas where they have strong connections.
“This could be young families and those on modest incomes who want to remain in the areas in which they were brought up. Equally, good quality affordable housing can enable older people to downsize into more suitable homes so they can be close to their family or stay within their own community.
“Highfield Close is an excellent example of how SARH, in partnership with the Parish Council, Stafford Borough Council and Seddon Construction, is helping to meet these needs.”
The rural housing event also included guest speakers from the Homes and Communities Agency and the Chartered Institute of Housing and a film (below) featuring interviews with families who had benefited from the affordable homes that had been delivered.
Hailing the event a success in raising awareness of rural housing issues Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities at Stafford Borough Council, commented: “We are all aware of the projected growth in the number of both older and young people nationally, but in the Stafford area, out of the 7,500 projected growth in people living locally, 7,000 of those will be aged 65 and above.
“That means that we need to ensure that we are building the right homes, for the right people, in the right areas to the right quality standard – all of that takes care and planning. And the starting point is understanding the need in each of our communities and working locally to deliver a range of housing options to meet these.”