COUNCILLORS, planners and property developers in the Yorkshire Dales were today pondering suggestions that the Government is about to create a special department to deal with the problems of rural housing.
Proposals for the new body were leaked over the weekend and - although such legislation would be highly controversial - a Bill could be introduced into Parliament within months.
Such a move would have long-term effects on the future of small village communities in the Yorkshire Dales, where in some cases half the houses are either second homes or holiday lets.
It is suggested new legislation would attempt to stop the speculation in rural properties by wealthy city dwellers which has driven homes beyond the reach of many local people.
And second homeowners, it is claimed, would be in for a financial caning by being forced to pay much higher council tax than locals.