Rural affordable homes needed

The news, from the National Housing Federation, last week, that the number of people aged between 30-44 who live in rural areas has dropped by nearly 9% in the past decade, is proof that we need more affordable homes in the countryside.

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.

The rural population has grown by 800,000 people in the last decade but if young families and working age adults are moving away from the countryside, rural towns and villages are at risk of becoming the preserve of the elderly.

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 – this needs to be addressed.

Local authorities in Sussex need to act now to allow sensible development of housing and businesses to meet the need in the countryside.

Homes and jobs need to go together. Without homes and jobs there is no community to support local shops, schools and services.

Barney White-Spunner

Executive chairman, Countryside Alliance, London