Affordable housing saving rural services: rural life monitor 2017

13 November 2017

Our report illustrates how building affordable homes in rural areas can help to maintain vital services for local communities.

Services such as schools and pubs are the pillars of rural community life. These services are increasingly at risk of closing where rural areas have suffered from lack of investment in new affordable homes. Without this investment, it is difficult for families to grow and remain in the same area, and more difficult for people to move to these areas, putting the long-term sustainability of local businesses at risk.

This report finds that over the last five years, schools, post offices and pubs have been closing on a regular basis. With one in five English households living in rural areas, and housing, on average, being less affordable in rural areas than in urban areas, it is vital to continue to breathe life into these communities.

Housing associations have a strong track record of working with communities in rural areas to deliver homes they need. Last year, they built 3,030 homes in rural areas of England, and started building 3,769. Building homes enables families to remain within the communities they have been in for generations, and this can support rural services by allowing them to remain open.

This report tracks change across three key pillars of community life – pubs, post offices and schools – and demonstrates how building just a few affordable homes in rural settlements can help to keep these important services open.