Call to improve rural freedoms
Monday 05 February 2018
The countryside risks turning into a combination of a "dormitory, theme park and retirement home" without action to ensure rural communities can thrive, it has been warned.
A coalition of groups is calling on the Government to take steps to ensure rural areas can meet housing needs, build local economies, deliver services, and create flourishing market towns. Unless local people are given the ability to improve their areas, services are at risk of meltdown in the face of spending cuts, all but the wealthiest will be priced out of housing and wages will continue to lag up to 20% behind urban averages, Plans for referendums which would require 90% community support before new, small-scale development in villages could go ahead should be scrapped, they urged. Instead, elected parish councils should be allowed to initiate small community-led developments within a localized planning system to meet local needs.A report by the coalition also warns of the impact of Government spending cuts on rural areas.