AS the acute shortage of affordable housing in rural areas such as the Yorkshire Dales continues to climb up the political agenda the Government has today launched a new Affordable housing website aimed at improving links between those involved in housing provision.
Support for affordable housing in dales communities
The online guide is set to provide information, useful contacts and links to best practice for those directly engaged, or interested, in the provision of affordable homes in rural areas.
Sponsored jointly by the newly formed Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and rural affairs department Defra, the website follows the report of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission (ARHC), which looked at the need for more affordable housing in the English countryside.
The site sets out current and proposed Government housing and planning policies that impact on the rural sector and local communities.
Housing Minister Yvette Cooper, said there was a need to see more affordable housing in rural areas.
"The website will be an important resource for those working on housing in the rural areas - including local authorities, housing associations, landowners and country groups - both on policy developments and on best practice to deliver more decent affordable houses in rural communities.
This is a vital part of our contribution to creating sustainable rural communities and rising to the challenge of how we can meet social, economic and environmental needs...
Barry Gardiner - Rural Affairs Minister
Rural Affairs Minister Barry Gardiner added: "The website demonstrates the government is considering how it can improve the supply of affordable housing in rural areas as an integral part of its work.
"This is a vital part of our contribution to creating sustainable rural communities and rising to the challenge of how we can meet social, economic and environmental needs in the countryside."
The website will be updated at least four times a year and is one part of the Government's response to the findings of the Commission. Ministers have said the forthcoming spending review will set out further measures to tackle the crisis in rural housing.
The website can be viewed at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/arh/index.htm