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New homes targeted at villagers

PUBLISHED: 11:11 16 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:28 30 June 2010

NOT so long ago the term “rural idyll” conjured up images of quaint English village country lanes, rose blossom and tight-knit communities where everyone knew the village shopkeeper and postman.

NOT so long ago the term “rural idyll” conjured up images of quaint English village country lanes, rose blossom and tight-knit communities where everyone knew the village shopkeeper and postman.

But this idyll has changed over time as populations have become more mobile and people have moved into villages to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

A side effect of this trend has been that house prices in rural communities have increased, forcing many first time buyers, who would have liked to stay in their village, to move away to buy or rent property.

However, one village area has decided to take pro-active measures to buck this trend by encouraging house hunters to stay in their home village.

Freethorpe Parish Council is appealing for anyone with a connection to the village, who can't afford to buy property in Freethorpe, to bid for seven new homes built by Broadland Housing Association at Church View in the village.

Five of the houses are available for rent while two are available on a shared ownership basis where the buyer pays for one half and rents the other half off the Association until they can afford to buy the property outright.

Nick Spencer, the parish council's chairman, said: “We want people to be aware they are now available and can go on a list to be selected for them.”

He added: “The whole idea of the scheme is to allow children who have grown up and moved away but can't afford to buy within the village where they have lived for, say, the last 25 years to get a house in the village that they can afford. It is designed to keep families together in the location where they have lived.”

To qualify for a home, potential buyers could be currently living in Freethorpe, have grown up there or have relatives living there- the aim is to keep families together within the village.

A 50pc share in the two shared ownership homes will cost £62,500 and all the properties are a mix of two and three bedroom properties.

Sarah Mortimer, head of marketing at Broadland Housing, said: “Priority is given to local people. In this instance there are quite strict criteria for shared ownership. If people can show strong connections to the village then they are given priority.”

Bidders can apply for property at the next meeting of the parish council in the village hall on Monday, April 26 starting at 7.45pm. Representatives from Broadland District Council and Broadland Housing will be attending the meeting.


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