We continually carry out consultations to understand more about the type of housing that may be needed by local people in rural areas - to influence the type and size of homes built in the future.
North West Leicestershire is predominantly a rural area. The main urban areas are Coalville and the market towns of Ashby, Measham, Castle Donington, Kegworth and Ibstock.
According to the national rural classification system, between 50% and 80% of residents in the district live in settlements (a community of people smaller than a town) of less than 10,000 people.
There has been a lot of concern locally and nationally about the high cost and availability of suitable homes in small villages.
This lack of availability can mean local residents have to move to cheaper areas to find somewhere to live. If populations decrease to much this can force the closure of local pubs, shops, post offices - and sometimes schools.
The fact that the shop and local transport may no longer be available doesn’t mean that residents want to move away. People born and raised in a village often want to stay and raise their own families there- or they may need to remain in the village to support their family or for employment.
Definition of rural areas
All areas of North West Leicestershire have been defined using the 2005 DEFRA/CLG classification which is based on sparseness and distribution of population.
This results in a classification in which areas are defined as being either sparse or less sparse.
Within these two headings there is a further classification of settlements which are defined as being urban (with population of more than 10,000), town and fringe settlements, villages, and hamlets and isolated dwellings.
All the settlements within North West Leicestershire fall into one of these categories:
Classification of Settlements in North West Leicestershire by Community Forum Area (Word Document, 0.1 Mb)
Collecting information about housing need
We have a legal duty under the 1985 Housing Act to periodically review the housing needs of its area to ensure we understand the housing needs of our communities.
Under this duty we should have an understanding of the housing needs of all of our residents – this duty does not just cover the building of new properties. It could cover the suitability of existing properties - for example whether any adaptations are required.
Residents in all those settlements highlighted in green on the classification of settlements table will be asked for their views on their housing at some stage over the next five years. Every household will receive a housing needs survey.
In the future we may use other methods of talking to residents, such as drop in sessions or village consultation events.
The housing needs of those areas highlighted in grey will be identified by a Leicestershire-wide Strategic Housing Market Assessment.
What will we do with the findings?
The findings from these surveys could be used by us to influence the types of properties being provided in these villages.
It may be that there is a large unmet need for bungalows to be built for the elderly or for smaller homes for young families.
There is often a need for these properties to be provided as market houses – for sale on the open market - but they are rarely provided, with developers often concentrating on providing large executive homes.
Having evidence of what’s needed may help us to influence, for the benefit of the village, what is being built.
The findings of the housing needs surveys will be published here. Individual responses will be kept confidential.
It just means more houses will be built in the village!
The evidence can also be used to influence people to bring any empty properties in the villages back into use.
If we know there are homes sitting empty in the village that could meet identified needs, we can work with the owners to help bring those properties back into use.
While developments in rural areas are not as common as in our larger settlements, new housing developments does take place. The aim of collecting evidence is not to encourage more new homes but more to ensure that those properties that are being proposed reflect what residents believe are needed.
Last updated: Mon 14 May, 2018 @ 11:50