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"Refreshing The Rural White Paper"

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the re-appraisal document, "Refreshing the Rural White Paper", and its conclusions on whether affordable housing in small villages is sustainable. [131377]

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced a review of the Rural White Paper last November. The review is nearing completion and will be published in due course.As my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Housing and Planning announced on 17 July,

Official Report, column 53WS, the Government are consulting on an update of the existing nationwide guidance on planning for affordable housing, and the public consultation period runs until October 31. The update will be supported by practice advice. The update addresses a number of matters including the provision of affordable housing in rural areas. The proposed changes give greater flexibility to local authorities to seek affordable housing on smaller sites where this is justified. It is also envisaged that in rural areas affordable housing provision may be supported by allocating sites solely for affordable housing, on land within or adjoining existing villages, which would not otherwise be released for housing and where this would contribute to the attainment of mixed communities.