Affordable housing is essential says rural group

THE Countryside Alliance has accused those objecting to new houses of using the village green protection system to block development.

And the group has welcomed a Government announcement that steps will be taken to curb abuse of the village green system.

Village green status was created to protect land that is regularly used for recreation from development, but loopholes in the system have increasingly been exploited by campaigners trying to stop local development.

While legitimate applications will remain well-protected, changes to the system will stop spurious village green claims, Defra has said.

Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said: “Earlier this year we heard, from the National Housing Federation, that the number of people aged between 30-44 who live in the countryside has dropped by nearly 9% in the past decade, proof that we need more affordable homes in rural areas.

“A lack of affordable homes creates a vicious cycle which if not broken leads to the break-up of communities, a loss of services.”