Rural Affordable Housing Project Experience

Here are a few of my current and recent projects:

A New Perspective to Find Solutions

A Review of Rural Housing Enabling in North Yorkshire

Leading a small team, I helped the North Yorkshire authorities find ways in which they could use their resources to increase the delivery of rural affordable housing in the face of reducing resources.

In partnership with the Authorities, we developed an evaluation framework that provided the basis for interviews and workshops with key players.

From these we identified the strengths of, and the challenges to, current practice.

Drawing on partners’ views and experience from other parts of the country we provided a set of recommendations that included

  • strengthening the evidence base;
  • positive planning measures;
  • performance management;
  • funding of the Rural Housing Enabler posts
  • governance arrangements for the county wide rural housing partnership.

The report has been very useful — it has been used to shape our thinking around a new way forward for the RHE programme in North Yorkshire, and we will continue to refer to it to evaluate our progress in reform, and to help set up our new programme.

Your report and the process you went through really helped us get our head round this, and to understand more about partners’ perspective on the programme, and highlight the ongoing need for engagement and programme management sub regionally.

Helen Fielding

Housing Manager

Hambleton District Council

Making Policy Work for You

Development of Policy for Cross-subsidy on Rural Exception Sites –

Winchester City Council

Providing affordable housing through cross-subsidy on rural exception sites is still in its infancy and in some areas is still a controversial approach. To develop a sound policy Winchester City Council asked me to critique their emerging draft policy.

Using my network I drew on the experience and policies of a number of local authorities that had already started down this route. From this I was able to distil the principles of effective policy and used this as a framework for the critique.

The recommendations informed the development Winchester City Council's Core Strategy policy which was approved by the Planning Inspector.

I am now drafting the SPD that will provide the more detailed guidance on the implementation of the policy.

The experience Jo was able to bring to the discussion was invaluable.

The new policy was accepted in total by the EIP Planning Inspector and we are delighted to again be working with Jo on our new SPD.

We are confident that we will be able to use this to help boost the supply of much needed rural affordable housing.

Simon Maggs

Housing Strategy & Development Manager, New Homes Delivery

Winchester City Council

Working Together and Strenthening Team Capabilities

Lincolnshire Rural Affordable Housing Partnership

As project co-ordinator I have brought together the district and county councils, RSLs, RHEs and the HCA to form the Lincolnshire Rural Affordable Housing Partnership.

Through small task and finish groups I have helped the partners to take action to overcome barriers that slow down delivery.

This has included putting in place a consistent enabling process and performance management framework; working with the Diocese, County Council and private landowners to identify sites; running a ‘hearts and minds’ campaign; and deploying the RHE resource to complement and add capacity to local authority enabling teams.

I have strengthened team capability – resulting in a rural analysis within the County’s three SHMAs and EVAs; the inclusion of three rural evidence reports to support a rural priority in the Local Investment Plans; and worked closely with the Central Lincolnshire Joint Planning Unit to include a positive approach to providing rural affordable housing in its draft Core Strategy.

Jo is passionate about making a difference and delivering more affordable homes in our rural communities.

She has brought a clear and persistent approach which has moved historical blockages and inspired new ways of working together to get things done.

Her relentless drive has been instrumental to the success of the project

Rachel North

Director of Strategy & Regeneration

West Lindsey District Council