Are the CPRE destroying village life?

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Young couples are being forced to move away from the country to buy houses, turning villages into virtual ghettos of the very rich and the elderly without the families needed to keep schools and shops alive, according to the report from the National Housing Federation. It found the gap between local earnings and property prices had worsened in key rural districts over the last six years.

Its findings will be backed this week by a report from the Liberal Democrat MP Matthew Taylor on rural housing, commissioned by Gordon Brown.

More housing needed

We protect villages from almost any development because people want to be able to buy a little house that will still have a view of green fields in 20 years,’ he said. ‘But the villages that are being protected from development are actually being killed, because the people who sustain them – tend the fields, keep the shop running, open the pub every day – can’t afford to live there. The risk is that they are being turned into gated communities.’

Taylor’s report, published this Wednesday, will recommend that councils be encouraged to use existing powers to grant exceptional permission for building in villages to create affordable homes, covenanted so that they could only be sold on to local workers, with their price capped so they would remain affordable for generations.

Limit second home owners

He will also recommend that buyers in Britain’s national parks, in villages where services are deemed to be at risk because of a high proportion of weekenders, be required to seek planning permission if they want to ‘convert’ a house from a main residence into a second homes. That would allow councils to insist effectively that houses must be lived in full time.

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)

The CPRE are well known for leading the campaign against further house building on England’s green and pleasant land. They call for the use of brown field land to meet the needs of new build but, we all know this isn’t realistic. There’s simply not enough of it.

The CPRE have shot themselves in the foot. Their campaign, designed to protect rural England and its quaint little villages, has ended up exacerbating the problem. With not enough affordable housing the very people who run such places are being forced out.

The CPRE appear to have perpetuated a crisis in rural England.

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