Sustainable Villages- Making Rural Communities Fit for the Future

Ten years on from the publication of the Taylor Review, there are fresh calls by the Countryside Land Association for rural areas to be considered for housing development in order to preserve and enhance services and prevent them from falling into this sustainability trap.

The report, ‘Sustainable Villages- Making Rural Communities Fit for the Future’ was published by the Countryside Land Association on the 19 November 2018. It found that more than 2000 villages across England are considered unsustainable locations for new housing growth due to lack of services such as post offices.

This is caused in part by the way settlements are assessed for new housing which fails to take account of advances in technology and how these have helped to shape modern life and rural England. The CLA calls for access to services such as broadband and electric charging points to be included in the sustainability assessment of villages.

A failure to change the way villages are assessed for housing will leave villages in what the CLA call an analogue age when the rest of the world are in a digital age. “Updating sustainability assessments to capture this information on technological changes will also give local authorities and private enterprises a clearer picture of where investment in digital infrastructure is needed”.

The sustainability of villages is central to the Village Foundations ethos. It was founded on the back of the Taylor Review and seeks to work with local communities and authorities alike to show how new housing can both support existing and help provide new services in rural communities. Starter and downsizer homes work can enable both younger and older residents to remain in their community, as well as encourage new residents to move into the village. Further to this, wider community benefits such community orchards and allotments, along with new village facilities can all be provided as part of a development. Together they will help ensure villages don’t fall into a sustainability trap of becoming dormant communities.