Help close the planning loophole that’s threatening the future of our rural towns and villages

Hundreds of affordable homes in the countryside are being lost because developers can legally dodge building them – and rural communities are paying the price.

Donate today and help keep our countryside open, alive and thriving.

‘Viability assessments’, a loophole in government planning policy, are allowing developers to slash the number of affordable homes they’ve committed to build – simply to protect their profits.  

Our recent report* in collaboration with the housing charity Shelter found that where developers used viability assessments, the amount of affordable housing delivered in rural areas was cut by 48%.

Losing even a small number of affordable homes can be the difference between villages living or dying.

In just five years, 360 rural pubs, 81 rural post offices and 52 rural schools have closed† as local young people and families, who make use of services in rural areas, move away because of a lack of new affordable homes.

What is the viability loophole?

If our countryside is to thrive, its towns and villages must have affordable homes that local people on ordinary incomes can afford.

The time to act is now as the Government re-writes national planning rules.

By making a donation today you can help us persuade the Government to close the viability loophole and ensure that affordable homes for rural people are prioritised over developers’ profits.  

Read Deborah’s story below…

* Viable villages: closing the planning loophole that undercuts affordable housing in the countryside. CPRE/Shelter, March 2018
† National Housing Federation, 2017

Read more

Deborah’s rural town is losing its heartbeat because of the lack of affordable homes.

Deborah’s family has lived in the beautiful Sussex countryside since Saxon times. But she’s seen her small rural town change dramatically in recent years because of the lack of affordable homes.

“My children and grandchildren have all moved away.”

Her youngest daughter Eleanor desperately wanted to stay in Sussex but she and her family couldn’t afford to rent or buy a property in the area. Eleanor now lives in Derby, and Deborah misses her terribly.

“There’s plenty of development here. But it’s usually big, expensive houses, often built on farmland. They aren't for local people.”

The lack of affordable homes nearby hasn’t just affected Deborah’s family. Local schools are under threat of closure and shops, pubs and post offices in neighbouring villages have shut down. Her own rural town has lost its long-established traders like the butcher, greengrocer and fishmonger – and now the bank is set to close.

Sadly, Deborah’s story isn’t unique - it’s happening in rural towns and villages across England.

Your donation will help us to close the loophole that’s denying rural communities the affordable homes they need to thrive.

Thank you.

To protect the privacy of the individual featured above, we have changed the name and a model has been used in the photograph. However, their story remains true.

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  • £15 could help a CPRE branch work with a local authority to help identify and deliver development on a brownfield site in their area.
  • £25 could help CPRE parliamentary campaigners prepare briefings to persuade ministers and MPs to do more to restrain greenfield development and prioritise brownfield sites.
  • £50 could help fund the publication of research and irrefutable evidence to support our key arguments for more and better use of brownfield land.

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