Rural housing week sees start of construction on 20 affordable homes for local people in Long Itchington

Social housing provider Stonewater celebrated the National Housing Federation’s Rural Housing Week (3-7 July), with the start of construction on 20 affordable village homes for local people in Long Itchington.

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The much-needed new properties at Lilac View, off Marton Road, will be a mix of two one-bed and four two-bed apartments, as well as ten two-bed houses for affordable rent. Stonewater will also provide two two-bed and two three-bed family houses for low-cost shared ownership. The new affordable housing community is being built as part of a larger village development of 58 new Bloor Homes for open market sale.

The sensitively designed new Stonewater homes, which will be for local people in the area, are due for completion next autumn. Stonewater is working with long-term partners Stratford-on-Avon District Council to deliver the scheme which follows two recent affordable housing developments in Welford-on-Avon and Shottery.

With the average house in the area costing £329,925*, which is more than ten times the average local annual salary, and average private rents almost a third (32%) of wages, Stonewater sees an urgent need for affordable homes in rural villages like Long Itchington where local people – particularly younger groups – are being priced out of the community because they can’t afford housing. The new Stonewater homes will contribute to tackling the District’s annual shortage of 233 affordable homes.

“Affordable housing schemes, like these new Stonewater homes in Long Itchington, are vital to ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of our rural villages in the West Midlands for future generations,” says Jonathan Layzell, Stonewater’s Executive Director for Development. “But, these developments have to be the right type of housing, in the right location to stimulate growth, diversity and prosperity.

“Rural Housing Week highlights the important role housing associations like Stonewater are playing in keeping our rural communities alive by providing responsibly-built affordable housing for key people including shopkeepers, teachers and farm workers, as well as nurses and carers who will be increasingly needed to support an aging rural population. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Bloor Homes and building more affordable housing schemes like this one in other parts of the District where they are needed most.”

According to the National Housing Federation, more than one in five people in England live in rural areas which require 40,000 new homes annually to meet the current housing shortage. The number of households in rural areas aged 65+ is projected to increase by nearly 60 per cent by 2039.

“Far too few homes are being built for local people across rural England and communities are disappearing as a result,” says David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation. “Housing associations like Stonewater are a key part of the solution to the rural housing crisis. Stonewater is a great example of how, with the right support, housing associations can build the homes local people and their rural communities so desperately need. I’m delighted that Rural Housing Week is shining a spotlight on the innovation of housing associations like Stonewater.”

Stonewater currently owns and manages 2,266 homes in Warwickshire.