Home on the Farm Policy to Tackle Rural Housing

Posted: 16th June 2011

Village HouseThe availability of affordable housing in rural areas has been a problem for many years, with young people often having to move away in order to find employment that will enable them to get on the housing ladder.

Such housing as is available in the countryside is often bought as holiday or weekend homes by people from outside the area, keeping the cost of housing unaffordable for those employed locally and, in some cases, causing the creation of ‘ghost villages’; which are virtually deserted a lot of the time, especially on weekdays in the winter. The effect on the local retail economy can also be devastating.
In a bid to combat these issues, the Government has suggested that councils in rural areas consider changing their planning policies to allow unused farm buildings to be converted to use for residential purposes, rather than insisting that they only be used as farm buildings.

This idea is part of the 'Home on the Farm' scheme, the aim of which is to turn unused farm buildings into affordable housing. It is hoped that young families will thereby be able to remain in their local communities, rather than having to move to cities to find housing.

The Government hopes to adopt the scheme nationally. It has been outlined in the Government's response to the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee's report into farming in England's upland areas.