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Villages call for more affordable housing in countryside

It also found that 62% of rural dwellers believe there is a shortage of affordable housing in their area, and that 66% of those polled would support the building of new affordable homes where they live.

The survey also found that almost half of those in the countryside, 47%, believe that people who oppose all new homes in rural areas are damaging the future of their village or market town.

The wide ranging survey paints a gloomy picture of life in rural England – with one in four, 24%, saying that the sense of community in their village had declined over the same period, while 26% said second home owners have had a negative impact on the place in which they lived.

A sizeable majority – 66% – meanwhile believes the Government cares more about issues affecting people living in urban areas than those in the countryside.

The National Housing Federation, which represents England’s housing associations, said the results of the poll reflected growing fears that many rural communities were now in terminal decline and called on more affordable homes to be built for families to support village life.

A record 650 pubs and 400 shops are due to close in rural areas this year, while village schools continue to disappear from the rural landscape at a rate of one a month.

Federation chief executive David Orr said: "This poll reflects the growing fear within many rural communities that traditional village life is in terminal decline.

"People are seeing key local services like shops, pubs and local schools disappear from their village in record numbers as high house prices and a lack of affordable homes forces families and young people out of their communities.

"Second home owners and wealthy newcomers have pushed prices up in many areas, but the real problem fuelling the decline of our villages is the chronic shortage of affordable homes.

"Until local authorities begin to properly assess the true extent of rural housing need, at village level, and draw up action plans to deliver the new homes so desperately needed, there’s a very real danger that traditional village life will disappear."
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