Last edited 15 Feb 2021

RICS Rural Policy Paper

RICS have published a report examining the issues affecting the UK’s land and rural communities with recommendations for local authorities.

The Rural Policy Paper suggests that the owners of England’s 5,000 largest rural estates should release land for eight or more affordable homes. They suggest offering partial inheritance tax exemptions which would allow heirs to circumvent paying tax on affordable properties within the estate. The properties would be based on long leaseholds, allowing the estates to retain long-term interests in the land.

The report cites a recent pioneering scheme in East Devon. The county’s largest private landowner Lord Clinton, facilitated the development of 19 affordable homes in the town of Budleigh Salerton, made up of both rented and shared ownership properties, through working with the Cornerstone Housing Association.

RICS point out that in contrast to the turn of the last century, when Britain’s landowners adopted a more patriarchal and philanthropic approach, affordable rural housing has hit a shortfall of 76%.

Market towns are also highlighted as engines of economic growth in rural areas. RICS urge the government to extend the current devolution agenda, that has focused mainly on George Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ scheme, to market towns that could be transformed into a new generation of enterprise zones.

As well as reviewing property in the rural economy, the report focused on:

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