The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, says that landowners are keen to build and manage their own affordable housing, but there are not enough incentives to encourage more landowners to bring sites forward and manage them.
CLA Isle of Wight Regional Director, Belinda Walters (pictured left) comments:
“The capacity of landowners to help alleviate the acute shortage in homes in rural areas is an untapped resource. Many landowners already manage large residential portfolios and affordable housing is a part of that. Landowners have strong multi-generational ties to their communities and are often local employers, they wish to sustain that community for future generations, and long-term investment in affordable housing is an excellent way of doing this.
“However, it is important to recognise that developing market houses for sale is a more profitable enterprise than providing affordable housing to rent so there needs to be a range of incentives to encourage landowners to invest for the longer term.”
Belinda says that lack of affordable housing on the Isle of Wight has a significant impact on the rural economy:
“Our house prices are lower than many parts of the South East, but low wages are also a problem and the pressure on homes, particularly in rural villages, is increased because of the number of people who retire to the Island.
“We do not want to build all over our beautiful countryside but we want to see incremental growth in existing villages. This can help sustain local services and make it easier for those who have grown up here and want to stay, to afford to live and work in the countryside.
“We want life in our villages – to support young families, local workers and those in the community who are ready to downsize.”
Other motivators the CLA advocates for encouraging more landowners to bring sites forward for affordable homes include:
• allowing landowners nomination rights for who lives in an affordable property they have built, for example, a retired agricultural worker,
• adding affordable rental housing to the asset classes eligible for conditional exemption from inheritance tax upon death and,
• extending capital gains rollover relief on sale proceeds when a landowner sells land as a rural exception site development. This should also apply for 100% affordable housing or for Section106 mixed market and affordable housing sites where the affordable housing contribution is 20% above the requirement set in the local plan.