WHAT is to become of our Yorkshire Dales? As if it were not worrying enough that the lack of affordable homes and the closure of schools and shops is putting off young families from settling there, it emerges that farmers, the backbone of any rural community, are also being priced out.
The numbers employed in agriculture within the National Park have fallen dramatically in recent years, and the area’s inflated housing market, fuelled by the buying of second homes, is said to be preventing new generations of farming families from getting their own places and their predecessors from moving off the farm to retire.
The importance of farmers to the Dales cannot be overstated. Not only are the rest of us dependent on the food they produce, but the landscape relies on their management.
Nice though it is to imagine a second home in the Dales, their supply cannot be allowed to come at the expense of accommodation for those who most need to be there.