Fresh research hopes to unblock new rural housing in Wales

May 8, 2018 / Isla MacFarlane
Fresh research hopes to unblock new rural housing in Wales

The delivery of affordable rural housing in Wales is challenging and anecdotal evidence suggests current planning policy is making it harder.

A strong supply of housing is critical to maintaining vibrant communities and keeping jobs and young people in rural communities.

The extent to which planning policy – in particular Rural Exception Site Policy – is making it difficult for planners to deliver housing in rural areas will be the focus of new research to be conducted by RTPI Cymru. An invitation to tender has been published.

RTPI Cymru hopes it will uncover easier ways to deliver rural housing using the existing policy by sharing best practice between councils or recommend how the policy could be amended to ensure more effective delivery.

Launching the tender, Roisin Willmott FRTPI, Director of RTPI Cymru said, “Our members have identified the need to look at the effectiveness of this policy to deliver affordable homes in rural Wales.

“While the policy is well meaning, planners are finding it difficult to use it to deliver affordable housing. We hope this research will help Welsh Government improve the policy to ensure we can deliver much needed affordable housing while maintaining the character of rural areas.”

The tender document states that in England, policy allows some cross subsidy of market housing to help deliver affordable housing. Welsh policy, however, is more strict and doesn’t allow this cross subsidy approach which some believe is preventing sites for housing from being developed.

RTPI Cymru hopes to feed the results of the research into Welsh Government’s review of Planning Policy Wales.

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