An (affordable) country house

August 16, 2011, 9:27 PM GMT+0

Brits are split over whether it is currently too difficult or too easy to build new property in rural areas, with almost a third saying that current planning laws are about right, our poll has found. The results come as a new planning law has been proposed to allow churches to sell unused land, on which affordable housing could be built.

  • 15% feel that it is currently too difficult to build in rural areas and think that the rules should be relaxed
  • 29% say it is currently too easy to build in rural areas and that the rules should be tightened
  • 34% of British people believe that the current rules on building in rural areas are about right

Last month at a conference in Norwich Cathedral the Rt Rev Graham James encouraged churches to sell land for housing, saying that ‘strengthening and breathing fresh life into our rural communities is vital if we are to retain them as real places to live and work’.

Planning law relaxation

A new planning law relaxation could allow churches to sell or lease unused land, to help increase the amount of affordable housing.

‘There's a great shortage of housing for people especially on low incomes,’ said Alastair Murray, of Christian charity Housing Justice, which ran last week’s Faith in Affordable Housing (FIAH) conference.

‘Many rural communities are dying because the young people are moving away and can't afford to live in the places in which they've been born and brought up. Churches have a responsibility towards the community, so anyone who's in poverty or need, especially in relation to having a safe and secure place to live, is part of the churches' agenda’.