Village Housing

Constraints and opportunities in rural England

Nick Gallent, Iqbal Hamiduddin, Phoebe Stirling, and Meiling Wu


ISBN: 9781800083059

Publication: October 17, 2022

Village Housing explores the housing challenge faced by England’s amenity villages, rooted in post-war counter-urbanisation and a rising tide of investment demand for rural homes. It tracks solutions to date and considers what further actions might be taken to increase the equity of housing outcomes and thereby support rural economies and alternate rural futures.

Examining past, current and future intervention, the book’s authors analyse three major themes; the interwar reliance on landowners to provide tied housing and post-war diversification of responses to rising housing access difficulties (including from the public and third sectors); recent responses that are community-led or rely on flexibilities in the planning system; and actions that disrupt established production processes including self-build, low impact development and a re-emergence of council provision.

These responses to the village housing challenge are set against a broader backdrop of structural constraint – rooted in a planning-land-tax-finance nexus – and opportunities, through reform, to reduce that constraint. Village Housing makes the case for planning, land and tax reforms that can broader the social inclusivity and diversity of villages, supporting their economic function and allowing them to play their part in post-carbon rural futures. It aims to contribute greater understanding of the village housing problem – framed by the wider cost crisis afflicting advanced economies – and offer glimpses of alternative relationships with planning and land.

Nick Gallent is Professor of Housing and Planning at UCL.

Iqbal Hamiduddin is Lecturer in Transport Planning and Housing at The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL.

Phoebe Stirling is a housing researcher based in the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge.

Meiling Wu is a PhD researcher at The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL.

List of figures
List of tables
List of cases

1 The village housing challenge
2 Housing markets, planning and land
3 Private and public responses: the past
4 Planning, neighbourhood planning and community action: the present
5 Planning, land, tax and finance
6 Self-build and custom housebuilding, off-grid and council-led development: the future
7 A future for villages


‘A fascinating read that superbly frames current opportunities and challenges affecting village housing projects. The book draws out the role that village housing developments have played in supporting and reacting to the changing economic and demographic needs of the countryside, including the connectivity with urban and industrial shifts. It appraises the critical role of public policy, specifically planning policy, and how this has been used as an enabling and disenabling factor, reflecting public attitudes and perceptions of what form villages should take.’ – Martin Collett, Chief Executive, English Rural Housing Association
Village Housing powerfully sets out the history of the housing crisis in rural England, which in too many places has become a playground for the wealthy. By offering practical ideas through case studies, this insightful book looks at how we can widen access to affordable housing in the countryside and at the multiple benefits that would bring.’ – Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation

'Anyone wondering how rural England became “a retirement retreat or playground for the wealthy” should read this stimulating book, which offers a deeper analysis of England’s rural housing crisis, combining theory and case studies to investigate the role of property, taxation, financialisation, planning and housebuilders in creating our exclusive countryside.’ – Mark Shucksmith, Newcastle University


Format: Hardback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

244 Pages

23 colour illustrations

Copyright: © 2022

ISBN: 9781800083059

Publication: October 17, 2022

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