New research from the CLA – which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses – shows half of members surveyed believe there is a housing crisis in their community.
But many say they are put off developing homes by a planning system perceived as too complex, risky and inflexible.
The research is unveiled at the CLA’s first ever Housing Summit today (July 5) where landowners involved in developing homes and managing properties across rural communities will meet to share experiences about the challenges and opportunities they face.
More than two fifths of CLA members plan to develop one or two additional properties in the next five years, but 63% said they would build more new homes if there was greater support from the local authority to work through the planning process.
The organisation says giving these small private developers greater certainty and support to navigate the planning system could all but end the acute shortage of housing in rural areas.
CLA president, Ross Murray, said: “The rural housing challenge we face is to deliver a range of much-needed homes which will reinvigorate our rural areas across England and Wales and help to build a stronger, more sustainable countryside.
“Over six million people live in our rural communities.
“Planning policy must be more positive about the socio-economic benefits that development can bring about, and should focus more on what development is needed to ensure these areas thrive in the future, rather than attempting to restrict settlement growth.
“Incremental growth on a small-scale could make a huge difference to the housing shortage across our villages.
“A quarter of CLA members wish to build affordable homes and 40% want to build new homes to rent, so it is clear rural landowners have the capacity to meet the housing needs of people who want to live and work in the countryside but who are priced out.
“Without a mix of homes for people who want to live and work in the countryside, rural areas are at risk of becoming only the preserve of commuters, the retired and holiday homes.”
A report published at the event, Strong Foundations: meeting rural housing needs, sets out how to ensure the current restrictive planning system does not stop socio-economic growth in rural areas by supporting policies on planning, tax and the development of new private rented housing.
Read the report here.