Government policy threatens to exacerbate the growing housing crisis in the countryside, warns Mark Hudson, President of the Country Land and Business Association which today publishes its report, ‘Housing the Rural Economy’.
The basic needs of rural communities for local housing have been forgotten in the Government’s ‘top-down’ approach to housing demand. Local authorities are struggling to reach affordable rural housing targets whilst large-scale developments on the edges of towns are allowed to take precedence over small, sympathetic housing schemes that allow villages to grow naturally.
Now the Government is proposing to do away with key planning guidelines and that will only worsen the rural housing crisis, increasing the gap between demand and supply and threatening the economic base of our villages.
The CLA’s report, ‘Housing the Rural Economy’, proposes a series of practical solutions to open up more land and opportunities for rural housing. It also accuses the Government of neglecting the needs of 13 million people who live and work in the countryside and face increasingly inadequate housing provision along with escalating house prices which far exceed their earnings.
House prices now lie out of the reach of much of the rural-based population, continues Mark Hudson. Unless the housing situation improves, people will continue to drift or be forced to move away. Local jobs will be put at risk along with local services and facilities. In short, the rural economy will suffer.
The report calls for policy changes on several fronts. …