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Rural Housing Week 2 - 6 July 2018

Published on Monday, 9th July 2018

Showcasing successful community-led developments within the District

Following the official opening of Mackmurdo Place in Wickham Bishops by HRH The Princess Royal on 11th April 2018, the Chairman of Maldon District Council, Cllr Henry Bass, committed to raise the profile of this year’s Rural Housing Week 2018 in the Maldon District, to showcase successful community-led developments within the District. 

On Monday 2nd July, the Chairman hosted a tour for Maldon District Parish Councils to visit four successful rural housing developments in the Maldon District. 

Parish representatives were taken to : Tollesbury (Hastoe Housing Assoc), Goldhanger (Moat Housing Assoc), Tillingham (CHP Housing Assoc) and Wickham Bishops (English Rural Housing Assoc) to see for themselves how community-led projects can bring real benefits to villages.

Barry Sayers, former Wickham Bishops Parish Councillor spoke to the Parish Councillors about the importance of ‘saving rural communities’ and demonstrating the positive value of housebuilding in rural areas, and to how building affordable housing is helping rural communities to survive and thrive while notions of NIMBYism are becoming outdated.

On Friday 6th July, Lord Gardiner  of Kimble, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, also visited Mackmurdo Place in Wickham Bishops.  English Rural Housing also attended.

Lord Gardiner met several of the residents including Keith and Irene Cousins, Joan Sims, and Wendy Dixon, and looked around their homes and gardens.  Lord Gardiner was extremely impressed with the development.

Cllr Henry Bass said, “I am delighted that I have had the opportunity to raise the profile of Rural Housing Week 2018.  The aim of this annual celebration is to highlight rural housing issues and showcase housing associations’ innovative solutions for tackling them. It’s an excellent opportunity to shine a spotlight on successful developments that offer a lifeline to local people in our villages, and to reinforce the message that housing is vital for the survival of rural communities and services.”

James Taylor, Deputy Chief Executive, English Rural, said, “English Rural Housing Association is proud to be supporting Maldon District Council with their ambition to deliver more affordable homes in villages.  The innovative development at Wickham Bishops was driven by the local community, securing 12 affordable homes for local people. It is a positive example of what strong partnership working can achieve.
“We were delighted that Lord Gardiner chose to visit the homes at Wickham Bishops during Rural Housing Week. His visit follows the official opening of the new homes by our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal earlier in 2018.”

Monica Burns, External Affairs Manager for rural housing at the National Housing Federation, said, “Today’s findings show that far too few homes are being built for local people and villages are dying as a result. Young people are moving to cities and often house prices are rocketing. Right across rural England, schools are shutting their doors to pupils. Post offices, which provide vital community services, are closing at a similar rate and countless pubs are serving their last ever orders to locals. It’s therefore very welcome news that housing associations are stemming this tide in by building the new homes local people desperately need.”