Commission calls for more homes in the country

Immediate action is required to prevent rural England from becoming the preserve of the rich and retired, according to a new report.

The Affordable Rural Housing Commission has called for more property to be built and a possible tax for second homeowners in order to stop rural demographics from being drastically skewed.

Chair of the commission, Elinor Goodman, said that villages and towns should “be allowed to evolve” in the way they always had.

To address the problem the commission estimates that 11,000 new homes need to be built each year, around six for each rural ward in England. The body believes that the communities could probably be enhanced in this way without compromising villages’ distinctive characters.

Ms Goodman said that the issue of second homes is not a “major problem” nationwide, but added affordable housing is a “real concern” in some areas.

Other possible measures to adjust the property imbalance mentioned in the report include changing the “right to buy” council housing legislation in countryside areas and making National Park Authorities guardians of affordable housing.

“If we don’t act now, more and more people will be priced out of the countryside – leaving rural communities to increasingly become dormitories for the better off and places where people go to retire or for the weekend,” Ms Goodman concluded.

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