Welsh Government
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Availability of rural housing a challenge we must meet

The Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, Huw Lewis has recently visited housing projects in Llanbedr and Crickhowell to see how by working closely with communities, unique solutions to rural housing problems can be overcome.

Rural Housing Enablers work with local communities to bring rural sites forward for housing to sustain rural communities and provide housing for local people.

The affordability of housing in rural areas has long been an issue, particularly in Welsh communities, and is driven primarily by high house price to local income ratios.

Following the launch of his White Paper on Housing last week, the Minister was keen to meet many of our partner organisations to examine the ways in which they seek to provide more affordable housing. The Minister will be visiting two Rural Housing Enabler schemes to meet the Enablers and witness the results from their work; one scheme in progress and the other completed and occupied. The Enablers are also launching their new website.

The Minister said,

“We are under incredible pressure to provide affordable housing across Wales and we are all aware that there is not enough to meet the need. At the same time as Welsh Government budgets are reducing, the levels of need are increasing across the country.

“I am therefore pleased that we were able to continue to support and fund Rural Housing Enabler projects across rural Wales and especially grateful to get the chance to see the support provided by local authorities, housing associations and other organisations first hand.

“We know that budgets are tight, but we must continue to rise to the challenge, and the Rural Housing Enabler projects I am here to see today, provide real help and support the thousands of people in need of homes in rural areas across Wales."

The Minister’s visit serves to reinforce his long-standing commitment to increase the supply of homes, make certain we provide the right type of quality housing and provide more choice for people in housing need across Wales, both urban and rural.

A pan-Wales Rural Housing Enabler Network was established in 2008 and the Welsh Government provided £150k a year to support the establishment of ten Rural Housing Enabler posts, alongside funding from Local Authority, and RSL partners and other bodies such as National Park Authorities.

The work Rural Housing Enablers are employed across Wales to work with communities to identify their priorities and help deliver housing solutions in rural areas. The work they carry out complements other rural housing initiatives such as bringing empty homes back into use, rural housing specific research and the use of Welsh Government land in rural areas for affordable housing, via the land release protocol.

Following his trip to the Powys projects, the Minister visited a Wales and West Housing Association scheme in Brecon where he officially opened the new Plough Court development, which is full of affordable houses for local people.

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