To celebrate Rural Housing Week and to learn more about local housing associations’ work in Eden, Rory Stewart MP has met with John Clasper, Managing Director of Eden Housing Association, and staff members at their Bridge Lane headquarters in Penrith where he enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation with John around issues facing tenants of the local Association.

Rory, who works closely with Eden Housing Association on helping to improve the wellbeing of tenants, praised the local organisation for its flexibility, sensitivity and energy in helping to address tenants’ needs.

Rory Stewart said: “Rural Housing Week is another fantastic initiative from the industry, raising awareness of rural housing and the associated issues around availability, landlord-tenant relations, and of course affordability. It is so important that we continue to engage with these issues on a daily basis, and that is what Eden Housing Association do. Under John’s leadership Eden Housing Association is a local organisation that is deeply committed to delivering high-quality housing in some of the most beautiful parts of Cumbria, if not the UK, whilst also dealing with challenges head on.”

Endorsed by the Rural Housing Alliance and organised through the National Housing Federation, each year Rural Housing Week aims to demonstrate the important role affordable housing plays in maintaining rural communities. Building affordable homes in rural communities makes it easier for local people to continue to live in the same area as their friends and family. But it also helps to preserve the economic viability of rural communities by ensuring continued demand for key services – shops, schools, post offices, pubs and much more, and providing the homes needed by people working locally. Many affordable homes are built by housing associations, local authorities and community organisations. During Rural Housing Week, these organisations highlight rural housing issues by organising a range of local activities, from debates and coffee mornings, to visits to rural schemes.

John Clasper said: “It was very opportune that our MP, Rory Stewart visited us at Eden Housing Association in Rural Housing Week. It gave us a chance to discuss a number of rural housing issues and express our concerns over the Governments Right to Buy proposals. Whilst he did not support rural exemptions, Rory was in favour of us receiving 100% market value. We also urged for a reversal of the of current policy which no longer requires affordable housing to be included on sites with ten or less homes – in rural areas this potentially has disproportionate consequences. In other areas, and in his hew DEFRA role, he was supportive of the idea of working with landowners to release more land for affordable homes. We’re pleased that Rory is aware of the work we are doing in our communities and he encouraged us to look at how we can build upon that success in areas across health and wellbeing. Our staff also appreciated the fact that Rory took time to visit each department, thanking them for their dedication and hard work.”Rory_JohnClasper_1

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