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New figures show rural services in the North West are disappearing, but new housing development aims to help area thrive

New figures show rural services in the North West are disappearing, but new housing development aims to help area thrive

Across the North West services and businesses have been disappearing as people are priced out of housing in their local community.

New analysis of the latest data reveals that four schools, 12 post offices and 142 pubs have closed down in the North West over the last five years, according to the National Housing Federation.

Whilst businesses have been closing, house prices have hugely inflated in the area and become out of reach for local families. A worker on average earnings in Pendle needs a 47.5% pay rise to be able to afford a mortgage.

But Together Housing has promised to offer a lifeline to local Foulridge residents otherwise priced out of an area they’ve known all their lives. They want to help the area beat the tide of dying villages with a new development of 20 affordable homes. The two, three and four bedroom homes on Warehouse Lane, which are expected to be complete early 2019, will be available for a mix of open market sale, shared ownership and rent to buy.

This new development has been given the seal of approval by MP Andrew Stephenson who visited the site.

He joins MPs and housing associations up and down the country for Rural Housing Week (2-6 July), which aims to shine a light on how affordable housing can breathe life into rural communities, by bringing new customers and job opportunities that help keep open local shops or pubs that residents rely on.

Ahead of Rural Housing Week, many housing associations across England have been signing up to the 5-star plan for rural housing, developed by the National Housing Federation with housing associations. The plan challenges the sector to increase delivery of rural housing and continue contributing positively to a thriving countryside.

Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle, said: “Small developments, such as the one currently under construction in Foulridge by Together Housing, provide a real opportunity for people to make their home in our villages. It’s wrong that people who may have grown up in the village are then unable to afford to live there. That’s why I welcome the wonderful initiative from Together Housing in Foulridge.”

Ian Clark, Director of Strategy and Communications at Together Housing Group, said: “Buyers putting down a 15% deposit on a house in the North West are looking at an average of over £27,000. Our development in Foulridge is helping people onto the housing ladder whatever their financial circumstances.

“Those with no deposit can rent to buy and save for a deposit while they rent. Those with a small deposit can buy through shared ownership and buy a larger share as and when they can afford it. And those with a more substantial deposit can buy on the open market, which allows us to invest more money across the North to provide more homes for shared ownership and affordable rent.”

Monica Burns, External Affairs Manager for rural housing at the National Housing Federation, said: “Today’s findings show that far too few homes are being built for local people and villages are dying as a result. Young people are moving to cities and often house prices are rocketing. Right across rural England, schools are shutting their doors to pupils. Post offices, which provide vital community services, are closing at a similar rate and countless pubs are serving their last ever orders to locals.

“It’s therefore very welcome news that housing associations like Together Housing are stemming this tide in the North West by building the new homes local people desperately need.”

Paul O’Rourke, Andrew Stephenson MP and Ian Clark

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