More than 300 affordable homes built in North and East Yorkshire as experts cite schemes as saviour for rural communities

More than 300 new affordable homes have been built in rural communities across North and East Yorkshire over the past year, figures released today have revealed.

The new developments have been highlighted as part of Rural Housing Week, which starts today, and is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the challenges rural communities face and how affordable homes can help.

Developments and affordable housing is an issue that has been debated throughout the region of late as local people in Yorkshire’s coastal and rural communities struggle to buy homes due to property prices being pushed out of proportion by the popularity of second home and holiday home ownership.

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The affordable homes have been built by private developers, charitable housing associations, councils and local communities, backed by a team of specialist Rural Housing Enablers from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Strategic Housing Partnership which brings together local councils and national parks to help build affordable homes across the area and support the local economy.

One of the affordable housing developments at West Witton in Richmondshire.One of the affordable housing developments at West Witton in Richmondshire.
One of the affordable housing developments at West Witton in Richmondshire.

They are across the Craven, East Riding, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby districts.

Of the 309 rural affordable homes built across North and East Yorkshire between April 2021 and March 2022 - 111 were built in Craven District; 55 were built in the East Riding of Yorkshire; 37 were built in Hambleton District; eight were built in Richmondshire District; 42 were built in Ryedale District; 36 were built in Scarborough Borough; 20 were built in Selby District.

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The campaign warns that rural economies often lag behind on pay, productivity and infrastructure, while local people are priced out of desirable villages.

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However, it added that building more rural affordable homes can address many of these challenges, helping to boost the economy and create sustainable, thriving communities.

Coun Richard Foster, chair of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Housing Board and leader of Craven District Council, said: “Rural communities face a big challenge across North and East Yorkshire, and the rising cost of living is only going to make things harder for thousands of people. We urgently need to level up our rural communities, and there is no better way to do this than by building affordable homes.

“I’m really proud of the work that the housing partnership does, and these 300 affordable homes are a great example of that. We all need to make sure we are doing everything we can to build on this and create sustainable, thriving rural communities.”

On Friday, North Yorkshire County Council announced the government was considering legislation to allow local authorities to introduce premiums on council tax bills for second homes which could generate £14m a year in additional revenue.

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Money raised through the premium would fund services provided by the council, including council tax reduction schemes and affordable housing projects.

The North Yorkshire Rural Commission, established by the county council in 2019, said the affordable housing crisis was among the greatest challenges to resolve and called for the Government to revise the rules so it reflected average income in that area rather than market value of properties.

It also said each parish in rural North Yorkshire should build five houses over a 10-year period, with 40 per cent of the new properties either classed as affordable housing or available for rental.

And, last month the historic coastal town of Whitby held an unusual parish poll where local people voted overwhelmingly to support moves that would make it law that any new build housing developments could only be for full time local occupation as a primary residence as statistics revealed more than a quarter of the town’s houses are now second homes or holiday lets.