Affordable rural housing is essential, says Countryside Alliance

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The Countryside Alliance welcomes news from the Government yesterday (October 1) that steps will be taken to curb abuse of the village green system by those opposed to building projects.

Village green status was created to protect land that is regularly used for recreation from development, but loopholes in the system have increasingly been exploited by campaigners trying to stop local development.

While legitimate applications will remain well-protected, changes to the system will stop spurious village green claims, Defra has said.

Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said: “Earlier this year we heard, from the National Housing Federation, that the number of people aged between 30-44 who live in the countryside has dropped by nearly 9% in the past decade, proof that we need more affordable homes in rural areas.

“A lack of affordable homes creates a vicious cycle which if not broken leads to the break-up of communities, a loss of services and results in villages that have no long term future.

“We need sensible development of housing and businesses to meet the need in the countryside.”

The rural population has grown by 800,000 people in the last decade but figures compiled by the Countryside Alliance in 2011 demonstrated that there is an 80 per cent shortfall in the delivery of affordable housing when compared against identified need.