Rural Housing Summit

19th October 2017

Over 80 rural landowners, housebuilders, local councillors and planning consultants joined George at Gressenhall Farm and Museum to hear more from experts in rural housing about the opportunities of building affordable homes in their communities.

The Rural Housing Summit was convened by The Norfolk Way ( ) a non-for profit social enterprise founded by George Freeman MP to promote a vibrant rural economy in Mid Norfolk, in partnership with leading rural housing specialists Hastoe Group. (,

Rural communities across Norfolk are particularly hard-hit by a lack of affordable homes – a situation which has seen the average age in rural areas rise as young people are priced out, and services like schools, post offices, pubs and shops are forced to close. So the Summit aimed to reverse this trend by bringing together experts to discuss:

·        How a better approach to local housing can keep villages alive

·        How can Norfolk’s rural communities get the high quality homes they need?

·        What are the keys to delivering this vision?

George was joined by:

·        Sue Chalkley, Chief Executive at Hastoe Housing Group

·        Paul Pitcher, Wellington Construction of Lowestoft

·        Tim Horspole, Director of Planning at South Norfolk Council

·        Chris Parsons, Parsons + Whittley Architects

The Minister for Rural Affairs, Lord Gardiner also joined the panel to listen to the audience and the responses. 

George Freeman MP said: “I was delighted to host a joint event between the Norfolk Way and Hastoe. It was great to have so many representatives from the local communities across Mid Norfolk and to have their great feedback with encouraging updates on best practice and importantly what can be done. Many supported the idea of a new Garden Village as part of a call for new models of growth. I look forward to working with all parties over the coming months to encourage positive grown whilst protecting our rural way of life.” 

Hastoe Chief Executive Sue Chalkley said: “Hastoe are thrilled to have been involved in such a fantastic event, which helped to explore how we can work together to help solve the local housing crisis in Norfolk.




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