It’s Rural Housing Week and we're celebrating by getting ready to welcome the first customers into our brand new rural housing scheme in Wokingham.
We're adding the finishing touches to 14 affordable homes near Spencers Wood, with 34 more coming, ready for next summer.
Rural Housing Week is a campaign from the National Housing Federation which shines a spotlight on the housing that offers a lifeline to people living in our small towns and villages. And our newest rural homes do just that, by offering much needed affordable housing options in the area.
Figures from the campaign highlight that the most affordable homes in rural areas cost 8.3 times people’s wages, compared with 7 times people’s wages in urban areas*. Wokingham is an expensive area to live and this difference means some local residents will be struggling to find a home they can afford.
At this site near Spencers Wood, we're providing 24 bright and modern homes for social rent which will be allocated to people on the council housing waiting list. And there’ll be another 24 homes for shared ownership; a scheme that gives people the opportunity to become homeowners with a much smaller deposit that normally needed.
As well as providing high quality affordable homes for people to live in, as part of the development, we're helping the community to thrive by contributing to local services. This includes funding towards the roads and buses, and funding for improving schools and community facilities, including community centres, play parks and library services.
Rural Housing Week promotes the vital role of housing associations in providing homes in rural areas, and also highlights how this rural housebuilding supports the survival of important community facilities.
56 rural schools have closed in the last five years, which is an average of more than 11 a year**. But funding from housing developments like ours, can help to keep these facilities running, meaning families don’t have to travel so far each day to get to and from school, and children can form friendships with classmates living close by, which helps strengthen communities for future generations.
Mike Shepherd, our Director of New Business and Development said:
“We understand the important role that affordable housing has to play in helping rural communities to survive and thrive. In the last financial year, we delivered 86 new rural homes to people across Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey, and we’ve started work on another 271 this year. We’re working hard to deliver 1,200 brand new homes a year, with 20% being made available for social rent. The site near Spencers Wood is a great example of us providing social homes and shared ownership opportunities in an area with a real need for them, as well as vital contributions to the facilities that support the community’s wellbeing.”
Julie Ruffle, our Project Manager for the site said:
“It’s been very rewarding watching these homes develop. We’re providing quality homes, in a scenic setting, and bringing sought after affordable options to the local community.”
The beautiful homes are a mixture of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom houses, as well as 2 bedroom apartments; all with a modern design and crisp neutral decor. If you’re interested in finding out more about them, please click here.
*For the lowest quarter of earners, excluding London, and the most affordable quarter of homes. Based on 2016 figures. Statistical Digest of Rural England April 2018.
**Rural schools in England, 2012-17. Department for Education Edubase 2018.
Photo: Project Manager Julie Ruffle at the site.