THE GOVERNMENT'S rural watchdog, the Countryside Agency, today issued a damning report on a subject which has been a source of concern in the Yorkshire Dales for at least 20 years: the lack of affordable housing for local people.
Echoing words that have been repeated on Daelnet many times before, the agency says that locals are being driven out of their villages by the huge increase in house prices brought about by second-home owners, wealthy retirees or long-distance commuters.
Wages are lower in rural areas and there are some three million country people living below the official poverty line, says the report. To stem the flow of young people to the towns and cities, 10,000 affordable houses need to be built in rural areas every year.
The agency says that this can be done by in-filling in existing villages or market towns without damaging important landscapes or the green belt – a view that will be angrily challenged by many conservation bodies.