A PLANNING "stranglehold" is preventing the building of desperately needed low-cost housing in rural areas, says the Country Land and Business Association in Yorkshire.
The reason: although planners are actively encouraging the re-development of "brownfield sites" for housing in towns and cities, they routinely turn down similar applications for small-scale developments on derelict land in the countryside.
"Most new homes are being built on brownfield sites in towns and cities: why is it OK to re-use a former factory site for affordable housing but not a derelict piggery?" asks Dorothy Fairburn, CLA regional director.
Whilst welcoming the latest Government statistics showing efficient use of brownfield sites, the lack of affordable homes in villages was now threatening to destroy any revival in the rural economy, she said.
"Small, sympathetic schemes allowing villages to grow naturally are often the only way to house existing residents' children and the essential workers that are badly needed by rural businesses.
"If brownfield sites are being used to reinvigorate our town and city centres as Planning and Housing Minister Keith Hill says, why can't planning policies allow redundant farmland and buildings in villages be recycled too?" she asked.