Published: Wednesday, 27th June 2018
Sevenoaks District Council is backing this year’s Rural Housing Week with a free event on Leigh Village Green on Friday 6 July from 10am to 12noon.
Rural Housing Week, which runs from 2 to 6 July, aims to shine a light on affordable housing that helps to breathe life into rural communities by bringing new customers and job opportunities, helping to keep open local shops or pubs that residents rely on.
Leigh is home to Gibbs Field, a rural housing development built specifically to meet a need for local social housing. It is a model Sevenoaks District Council is keen to replicate in other rural villages and is working with parish councils to identify need and potential sites for this type of housing.
The free event includes an opportunity for residents to discuss local housing issues. The ‘Age simulation suit’, which gives wearers the chance to better understand the impairments affecting older people, will also be available. The suit is designed to help decision makers and service providers better understand the needs of older people - this is especially important as the over 65s account for 23% of the population in rural areas compared with 17% in urban areas.
Cllr Michelle Lowe, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, says: “We know there’s a shortage of affordable homes in many rural villages. This results in younger people moving away from the areas where they grew up, breaking up families and communities and is one of the causes of loneliness in older people. Often local businesses suffer, such as the local shop or pub, because they cannot attract enough staff and customers.
"We are really keen to promote small rural developments, where the local community and parish council want them, specifically for people with a local connection to a village and community. We are delighted to be working with parish councils such as Leigh, to help build more successful rural exception sites such as Gibbs Field."