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Housing in many English villages “unsustainable”

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The provision of new affordable housing in many English villages is being hampered by planning authorities’ rulings that development is “unsustainable”, says the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), in a story published by the Guardian newspaper on the 19th of November 2018.

The findings are echoed by the website Property Wire, on the same date, which reports that the CLA analysed the local plans prepared by 70 authorities, which found a total of 2,154 English villages to be unsuitable for affordable new homes – with the result that development is either restricted or prohibited altogether.

Critics say that the planning policies are consigning many villages to an historical time-warp in which communities are growing ever older as young people are forced away to towns and cities because they cannot find reasonably priced housing in the villages in which they grew up.

Many of the planning criteria used to stifle development are the result of “nimbyism”, claims the Guardian. A so-called “settlement hierarchy” is often used to classify areas suitable for development, yet the presence of a village pub – used to score 92% of planning applications – is given precedence over the availability of broadband internet access (used by only 18% of planning authorities in their classifications of suitability for development).

The areas with the highest number of villages in danger of being frozen in time in this way include Cornwall, with 213, 168 villages in Wiltshire, 132 in central Lincolnshire, 102 in south Oxfordshire, 101 in the East Riding of Yorkshire, 97 in the southern part of Worcestershire, 84 villages in Kings Lynn and west Norfolk, and 82 in the south of Northamptonshire.