A COUNTRYSIDE conservation charity is calling on landowners to help support rural affordable house-building.

Following their Rural Affordable Housing Conference, CPRE Hampshire is asking businesses or families with land to consider working with housing associations and community charities to provide affordable land for affordable homes.

Dee Haas, chairman, said: "It may be viewed with some surprise that a charity such as CPRE Hampshire, an organisation striving to protect and preserve our beautiful countryside, would be thinking about how to better support rural affordable housing. However, we feel this is something that should be important to us all.

"Our rural communities are facing a real crisis, with schools, pubs, post offices, shops and rural facilities closing down. We are out pricing all but the very few from our rural communities, often building the wrong kind of homes that don’t meet the needs of local people – be this an older couple looking to downsize, or a young family starting out."

CPRE Hampshire held a Rural Affordable Housing Conference recently which highlighted issues facing parishes when trying to provide affordable homes for people in the countryside.

Mrs Haas added: "One of the main stumbling blocks to providing homes for people in rural areas is the high price of land. At the conference, we discussed the idea of altruistic landowners helping communities where a need has been established, by contributing land either at no cost or low cost for small affordable housing schemes. We would ask any landowners out there who are keen to support their local community to consider providing land at an affordable price for parish councils, housing associations and community groups looking to build affordable homes to meet the needs of local people.

"At CPRE Hampshire, we support a thriving countryside for everyone – this can only be achieved if a diverse group of people are living there. Planned rural affordable housing provides a way to ensure our rural communities can survive – with people connected to the countryside living in it and working to protect it."

CPRE Hampshire asks that landowners interested in getting involved email info@cprehampshire.org.uk or call 01962 841897 to express an interest.