The first stage of this research project comprised a review of literature and the current state of rural policy, consultations with national stakeholders, and, using incomes and house prices, the development of an indicator of rural housing need at small area level which was mapped across the whole of England.
The second stage involved four detailed case studies – Harrogate, South Cambridgeshire, Stratford-on-Avon and West Somerset – in which three settlements of different sizes were selected. Property sales data were analysed to produce a picture of the local housing market and focus groups were held with local residents to explore the effects of a shortage of affordable housing. Travel to work patterns were mapped at settlement level to assess the sustainability of commuting. Discussions were also held with local decision makers as a reality check on the findings and to help identify policy alternatives.
The report is currently available in DEFRA's archive: