A look at the work of the English Rural Housing Association

The English Rural Housing Association is a not for profit organisation that aims to provide affordable housing in small villages where the financial burden of buying or renting a home has become insurmountable for many of its own residents. That’s the case in Tatsfield, a village in the Tandridge District of Surrey about 16 miles south of London, with a population of around 1,700.

According to figures from the home.co.uk website, the average price of a house in Tatsfield is just over £500,000; well over a third of the homes for sale are three bedrooms or more, and more than half are detached homes. This situation caused great concern for Tandridge District Councillor Bob David, who noted that families and young couples are finding it difficult or impossible to pay that sort of price.

Mr. David said that too many people are moving away from the town because they simply can’t afford to stay there. Young people moving from parents’ homes or young couples needing more space for children have to seek housing and employment somewhere else, and the village cannot prosper.

The councillor feels that it’s very important for people who grew up in the village and want to stay, or those who want to ‘come home’ after a time away to be encouraged by the availability of affordable housing. The homes built by Rural Housing are not for sale on the open market; they are for rent only to people with close ties to the village of Tatsfield.

Construction of these buildings is funded by the Housing Association in cooperation with Tandridge District Council and Surrey Community Action. The Tatsfield development on Lusted Hall Lane will consist of 10 units, a mixture of one and two-bedroom flats and detached homes. It comes in part from the results of a survey in 2008 conducted by Surrey Community Action, which revealed ‘an urgent need’ for affordable housing in the village. The ten units will be completed in the next three months.