New Rural Housing Report

A new report published by the Scottish Land Commission this week looks at how to improve the provision of housing in rural Scotland. This report is part of the Commission’s Review of Land for Housing and Development, which examines the way that land is delivered for housing and how this can be changed to create places people want to live, at prices they can afford.


The report follows previous work investigating the Scale and Concentration of Land Ownership, which found that a lack of access to land was limiting the development of rural housing. Key concerns included control of land by a single landowner, and the inability of communities to afford suitable land at a reasonable price to meet housing needs.


This short blog by David Stewart, Senior Policy Officer at the Scottish Land Commission, summarises the report findings:


Key Points:

  • The large house builders who deliver most of Scotland’s new homes are not active in rural Scotland. New models of delivery need to be developed and other housing providers supported to deliver the homes that rural Scotland needs.
  • Developing homes in rural Scotland is challenging, and these complex projects are often delivered by community groups and not-for-profit organisations. There is a need for expert support to reduce risk, improve success, and make land development-ready. There is scope to set up a national agency to provide expertise to all stakeholders to make land development-ready.
  • There is a greater role for the public sector and smaller local house builders in rural areas to collaborate to deliver more homes in rural areas.A range of solutions to support this are set out in chapters 7 and 8 of the report.


  1. Increase the resource and capacity available to facilitate more rural housing development across all sectors.
  2. The provision of a long-term, flexible and stable funding regime for rural housing.
  3. The creation of a Scotland-wide database of comparable evidence to help landowners and their advisors to establish best value in rural areas.
  4. Local authorities implement more suitable rural development policies and adopt a more proactive attitude to development.
  5. The provision of a suit of rural focused planning policies.
  6. The development and roll-out of a rural training package to local planning authorities.

Outputs and Resources

Three of the main outputs from the research include:

  • A chapter setting out practical ways to address the key land challenges
  • A toolkit highlighting currently available support, and setting out different approaches to unlocking development
  • Five case studies