Rural Housing Week at Wonston
Hampshire celebrated national Rural Housing Week with events across the county.
On Thursday 4 July Steve Brine MP, parish councillors from across Hampshire and other guests visited Harding Close in Sutton Scotney near Winchester. The 15 homes, a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroomed properties, were completed in 2018 and provide affordable housing for people living or working in the village. Four of the homes are for low cost shared ownership, with the rest being for rent with the land provided by Hampshire County Council.
The scheme forms part of close to 500 homes built by HARAH (Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing) since 2005. HARAH is a partnership of councils, housing associations, the national parks and charities across Hampshire. Homes for low cost rent and shared ownership have been provided in 50 villages across the county and provide accommodation for around 2000 people.
Guests heard from Councillor Lucy Dowson, how the Parish Council had worked closely with HARAH to address the need for affordable housing in the village. Every year, many schools, post offices, shops and pubs in rural villages close because young families can’t afford to stay living locally. HARAH provides homes that can help people stay local and keep Hampshire villages thriving.
HARAH’s new Parish Champion, Jess Bond, gave guests a very honest account of the challenges facing local communities when they decide to provide new affordable homes. However, she emphasised the benefits for villages such as her’s when the new homes are finished. Her experience is now being put to good use, talking to other parishes as they embark on the process.
After visiting the scheme and meeting residents, Steve Brine MP commented that it was clear that the people living in the homes were…
‘building memories, which was obviously so special’. He also told guests that ‘local business needs the village to renew. This makes for a stronger community’.