Top Executives Focus On Rural Housing Crisis

The Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) is bringing together top executives from across the housing, economic and finance sectors in an attempt to tackle the rural housing crisis sparked by the recession. The 'Rural Experience' event is being led by Sir Bob Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and is taking place on Thursday 8 January 2009 in Essex.

Delegates lined up for the event include David Orr, Chief Executive, National Housing Federation; Gideon Amos, Chief Executive, Town and Country Planning Association; Adam Sampson, Chief Executive, Shelter; Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive, Campaign to Protect Rural England; Jackie Bennett, Head of Policy, Council of Mortgage Lenders; and Adrian Coles, Director General, Building Societies Association.

Delegates will have the opportunity to visit villages and a market town to hear directly about the issues affecting people living there. The visit is being held in co-operation with Hastoe Housing Association which manages 3,500 affordable homes in southern England, over half of which are in rural areas. In rural areas households need at least eight times their income to purchase a house, and even in a recession house prices would have to fall by as much as 63% to be affordable.

Dr. Stuart Burgess Chairman of the CRC and the Government's Rural Advocate said: "I am delighted Sir Bob Kerslake is leading this first event; the lack of affordable housing is the single most pressing issue facing rural communities. Key decision-makers will now have the opportunity to see and hear about some of the issues facing rural communities at first hand."

Sir Bob Kerslake said: "I am honoured to lead the first Rural Experience event and to be joined by senior executives from such a wide range of influential organisations. The event will provide a unique opportunity for us all to experience what life is like for people living in rural areas and the impact of the market downturn."

From the Rural Experience event all of the participants are asked to consider how their organisation can best 'rural proof' their activities to improve the delivery of affordable rural housing, both individually and also through working collectively. In this way an action plan is developed including generating some new, innovative solutions.


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