The East of England Rural Forum (EERF)

Rural Housing Sub-Group – Terms of Reference 2008

 1.             Purpose

To re-define the role of the EERF’s Rural Housing Sub-group.

2.             Background

2.1        The sub-group was established shortly after the EERAF was formed, to take forward issues relating to rural housing on behalf of the EERAF. 

2.2        The sub-group has been particularly successful at raising awareness of housing and affordability issues and their implications for rural areas. 

2.3        In 2003, to coincide with the ODPM’s (now CLG) announcement of the Sustainable Communities Plan, the sub-group organised a series of county based workshops and a major regional conference to bring together all parties involved in the provision of affordable and rural housing including: planning officers, housing officers, housing associations, government agencies and importantly, private sector developers to ensure that rural housing issues were not forgotten as attention focussed on the growth area proposals. 

2.4        Using the outcomes from the workshops and conference, a report was prepared and distributed widely within the region and beyond.  Other RRAFs used the report to inform rural housing discussions in their regions and a presentation was given to a rural housing discussion attended by Defra and ODPM Ministers.

2.5        The sub-group has commented on numerous national and regional policy consultation documents, including:  PPS7 (Rural Development), PPG3, (Housing) and the Regional Housing Strategy.

2.6        More recently, the Sub-group coordinated site visits and provided evidence during Matthew Taylor’s Review of Rural Planning and Housing Policy.

2.7        The Sub-group has again been pre-empting and stimulating discussion on emerging rural housing policy and delivery issues when it hosted a major conference on delivering affordable and zero carbon homes.  It has also worked with CLA to produce an in depth report on landowner’s perceptions of barriers to releasing land for affordable housing.  

3.          The role of the EERF Housing Sub-group.

The sub-group will on behalf of the EERF:

a.          Provide information to the EERF on housing issues.

b.          Lobby those developing national, regional and sub-regional housing policy and respond to consultations on national and regional policy, to ensure rural housing issues are taken into account.

c.          Seek opportunities to promote research projects that contribute to a sound evidence base, to inform the development of housing policy as well as aid the targeting of housing related delivery.

d.          Support and publicise initiatives in the region that are considered to be best practice and positive contributions to rural housing delivery.

e.           Promote the development of future delivery of affordable rural housing that limits as far as possible future contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

f.           Develop and maintain strong links between the EERF and relevant regional governance structures and delivery agencies in order to influence and inform proposals for investment in rural and affordable housing in the region.

g.          Support tried and tested delivery mechanisms such as exception site policy and the rural housing enabler function.

h.          Continue to support initiatives that seek to develop alternative planning policy that contributes to delivering affordable rural housing. 

4.          EERF Rural Housing Sub-Group structure

Three EERF Members

Co-opted specialists:  

Housing Association Martin Aust, Flagship
Housing Association John Lefever, Hastoe
Local authority  Tim Lucas, Braintree DC
Local authority  Darryl Smith, Breckland DC
Rural Housing Enablers Led by Louise Wilby, Suffolk RHE
GO East Adviser  Susanne Ringham
Housing Corporation Becky Ashley
Regional Assembly  Joanne Webb
CLA  Tim Isaac


Graham Hedger currently chairs the sub-group and the secretary is Joanne Webb.


EERF Rural Housing Sub-group

November 2008