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Country News - 2005

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Historic housing decision for Yorkshire Dales

Thursday 20 January 2005

AS expected, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority yesterday made the historic decision to ban wealthy incomers from snapping up newly built houses and conversions - a decision which is being watched with interest and concern across the UK.

The authority finally grasped the nettle in what has been a growing row for the past 20 years as young people have been forced from their own villages in increasing numbers as second-home buyers and holiday-home property companies forced houses prices well beyond their reach.

It is estimated that an average house in the national park fetches £240,000 - almost £80,000 more than the national average - yet local incomes are well below national scales.

The news has been greeted enthusiastically by many locals but estate agents and builders are aghast, not just locally but at a national level too, for the Dales decision is being closely monitored in other rural areas of the UK, as far north as the Scottish Highlands, where similar problems arise.

The decision had received massive coverage in national newspapers, television and radio and estate agents - who have for years made handsome profits from the English dream of a house in the country - fear that the boom might by over if other rural areas adopt similar rules.

Our countryside columnist John Sheard will reflect on the long-term effects of this decision in a Week in the Country tomorrow.


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