Rural Housing Week – Susan’s story

Susan was renting with a private landlord when she was served a Section 21 notice and asked to move out as soon as possible. Her landlord’s relationship had broken down and he needed to move into the property.

With a four-year-old son, Susan was understandably worried about what would happen next, and feels extremely happy to have found a home at our rural development of homes in the village of Worplesdon, near Guildford in Surrey.

Bluebell Rise has provided a total of 12 unique, much-needed homes. Transforming an unappealing former brownfield site, the development provides four apartments for affordable rent, three shared ownership homes allotted to people with a local connection and five homes for market sale.

Susan has now moved into one of the apartments, and despite liking where she lived previously, couldn’t be happier with her new home.

“I didn’t know what to do when I was told we had to leave our home. I tried finding another flat nearby, but everything available was too expensive. I approached the council to see what help they could give me and because of my circumstances, I was quickly able to bid through their local lettings portal on properties I was interested in. I spoke with the council and then luckily got to bid on and view one of the Bluebell Rise apartments.”

The homes at Bluebell Rise, located on School Lane in the village, have been constructed with attractive features including handmade bricks, plain clay roof tiles and chimney features, combined with high thermal efficiency and top EPC ratings.

Hawksmoor, who typically construct multi-million-pound private developments, have built the homes using ‘tenure blindness’ principles, ensuring that all the homes are built to the same high-quality whether for the open market, shared ownerships or social housing.

“I had no preconceptions before I viewed the apartment as I only knew it was a new build and hadn’t seen any pictures,” continues Susan. “So, when I met Samantha from Mount Green to see the property, I was pleasantly surprised and knew I was going to love it. The homes and site itself are beautiful.”

Susan signed up there and then and was able to move in eight days later. She says she was grateful to Mount Green for giving her extra time to get her rent payments sorted through the council, adding that everyone she dealt with was lovely and extremely helpful.

Three months on, Susan is just as thrilled with her home, as is her son.

“We have lovely neighbours, and everyone gets along well. We’ve settled in quickly and are so happy here. If I ask my son if he wants to go back to where we used to live, he says, ‘no mommy, I want to stay here!’ We’re so grateful to have this beautiful, safe and secure home in such a lovely area.”

With demand for social homes in rural areas growing at over 10 times the rate of that in towns and cities, stories like Susan’s highlight the importance of investing in rural homes, despite the complexities and often higher costs of developing new homes in these areas.

And as highlighted by this year’s Rural Housing Week, new homes are not only beneficial to those living in them. With just 10 affordable homes in a rural area generating £1.4m for the economy and supporting an average of 26 jobs, the positives of rural housing are far-reaching.