A quiet revolution is happening in rural England
In recent years there have been many changes that are creating an unseen revolution in our countryside. The rural population has increased by 800,000 over the last 10 years and is predicted to grow by 16% by 2028. The number of over 65s living in rural areas is growing 2.5 times faster than in urban areas.
People are living longer with parents, often because they can’t afford to live elsewhere. In addition, household sizes are falling and more than half of all homes in rural areas are under-occupied, so more homes are needed just to maintain the existing population yet new building has been restricted for many years.
These restrictive policies have threatened existing facilities and services such as shops, pubs and libraries find it hard to survive without enough business being generated. Village post offices may be losing their protected status, which could see the closure of a further 3,000 sites.
Changing the perception of development
We understand that villages do not want ill-conceived and poorly designed housing developments in their area. The Government has expressed a willingness to address the housing crisis across the UK with the introduction of less restrictive planning policies.
Villages understandably want to avoid the development of bland estates that are poorly designed and are not in keeping with the surrounding area. These types of houses, that can erode the character of an area, are not what is needed.
Village Foundations was formed to show that it is possible to meet housing needs in a way that is inclusive and that can enhance rather than undermine village life. The benefits of rebalancing the housing stock can often get lost. As well as meeting specialist housing needs and supporting services, the provision of smaller flexible homes frees up existing housing in the village.
Village Foundations can help avoid unwanted developments being forced on a community by proactively identifying appropriate sites and presenting high quality designs. Villages that make clear to planning departments their own favoured sites are less likely to have undesirable developments forced upon them.
We do things differently
We put great emphasis on community engagement. Local people know their village better than anyone else and so we engage with existing residents to fully understand these needs.
We can gather evidence by carrying out a village audit that looks at the type of housing and services required. We take a holistic view of what a village needs, not just focusing on housing.
We take a nature positive approach, which means that there will be greater biodiversity in our developments than there was before. We deliver outstanding design with layouts and materials inspired by the best and most cherished building forms in the village.
Village Foundations is building a national movement to show local communities how development can be positive and rewarding in many ways. Our aim is to create high quality new housing that matures as part of the village and becomes a vital part of its fabric and future.
Village Foundations aims to create a positive future legacy for rural village communities. With this as our goal, our development strategy typically comprise:
- land in or on the edge of sustainable villages
- almshouse design typology suitable for downsizers
- starter homes suitable for young people
- high quality sensitive architecture akin to the rural vernacular
- a mix of affordable and market homes
- low energy and low environmental impact construction
- nature positive, by producing enhanced biodiversity as a result of development
Developments can include other house types with larger or smaller parcels of land, and may also include other new building uses depending on the particular needs of the village. We are interested in meeting the space needs of local businesses and to provide space for new or improved local services and facilities such as a community owned shop or rural work-hub.