THOUGH the shortage of affordable housing is a nationwide issue, it is particularly acute in Yorkshire’s rural heartlands where local families continue to be priced out of the property market.
Yet, while the default position of many communities is to resist planning applications, the fact of that matter is that new development – provided it is carried out sensitively – is essential if countryside areas are to survive and thrive. If not, it becomes even harder for village schools, shops, pubs and other community facilities to remain remotely viable and this economic reality cannot be ignored any longer.
That said, it is surprising that only 39 new homes were built in the Yorkshire Dales National Park last year when the planning authority’s official target is 55. Is it any wonder young families, whose ancestors are steeped in the Dales, are having to up sticks and move away when progress is so painstakingly slow?
However, it’s not just the fault of planners. It also needs to be established why developers are being slow to respond to opportunities that do exist. Their failure to do so puts pressure on idyllic land that might not be so suitable.
As such, the National Park should look to see if there’s a greater role for social housing providers in the Dales. Theresa May has said housing is her number one policy priority after Brexit and this issue alone will reveal whether she’s willing to invest in rural areas as well as major towns and cities.