AFTER a minor hiccup, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has finally approved its controversial new policy of permitting new house building only for sale or rent to local people.
The scheme, which attracted national publicity and great interest from other rural councils when it was announced towards the end of last year, is designed to stop the drift away from the Dales of young couples who cannot get onto the housing ladder because of soaring property prices caused by outside buyers.
However, it hit a glitch earlier this year when some authority members failed to agree to a list of local villages and hamlets judged suitable for such new housing by the Government inspector who gave the initial go-ahead last year.
Had members decided to contest the Inspector's list, the whole plan would have been forced back to the drawing board, threatening months if not years of further delay.
However, members have decided to accept the list and the scheme has finally been given the go-ahead. Says the authority's strategic planning officer Peter Stockton:
"It is an important step forward. It means that all new applications for housing in villages within the Dales will need to be justified on the grounds of local need - and approval will be restricted to local occupancy.
"This means in turn that we can start to target the remaining housing sites at people who need to live and work in the Dales. It's a way of meeting our duty to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the park."
Authority chairman Carl Lis said: "I think it's a big day for the authority. It will enable us to get to the position we think we should be at in terms of meeting local needs."