Swaledale in ‘great danger’ as young families look elsewhere

Amanda Owen from Ravenseat in the Upper Dales with her daughter Annas
Amanda Owen from Ravenseat in the Upper Dales with her daughter Annas
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Pleas to make North Yorkshire’s upper dales an attractive place for young families to live and work were made at a rural summit in Leyburn today.

The Yorkshire Post and Richmondshire District Council brought together key decision makers to discuss solutions to the exodus of young people from remote rural communities.

Upland sheep farmer Amanda Owen, who lives with her husband and seven children at Ravenseat, Swaledale, told the summit she did not see a future for her children to grow up and work and raise families of their own in the dale because of a lack of local services as councils deal with huge austerity budget cuts.

“There is no doubt we are blessed to live in such a beautiful place and to feel the footsteps of our forebears echo in all that we do but we can’t survive on just the fresh air and a view, we are not a living museum and we are in great danger of becoming a dale that dies.

“What incentive is there for the young people and families to live and work here when the essential services are constantly being eroded away and the gap between what is available to town dwellers and rural dwellers is ever widening?”

Mrs Owen said a trip to her nearest hospital was a 100-mile round trip, the nearest primary school was ten miles away and she lived in a broadband ‘not-spot’.