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Shortfall of rural house targets worries CPRE

[Tuesday 7 December 2010]

The Coalition Government has cuts its estimates of new houses to be built in the future, revealing a desperate need for more careful planning, says the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

The campaign is worried that down-sizing projected development will exacerbate the already critical shortage of low-cost homes for local residents in popular rural areas like the Yorkshire Dales and threaten large expanses of Green Belt land.

The latest forecast from the Department of Government and Local Communities (CLG) shows its expects that 20,500 fewer houses will be built each year for the next 20 years but the demand will continue to be a massive 232,000 a year.

This, says the CPRE, reinforces the need to “plan, monitor, and manage” housing plans.

But there are some improvements in the new government approach, says campaign planning officer Kate Houghton: “This fall demonstrates the folly of basing targets for house building solely on projections that can change dramatically from one year to the next.

“The Government has made the right decision in pledging to abolish top down housing targets as it’s now clear these were far too simplistic, based on data that does not account for a whole range of complex issues that determine what houses will be needed, and where.

“These targets put valuable countryside and Green Belt land at risk from developments that may not even have been required.”

The shortage of affordable housing for local residents, tens of thousands of whom have been driven from their home villages by soaring property prices driven up by wealthy incomers, has been one of the most divisive issues in rural England for the past 20 years.

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