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What ever happened to the village people?


Imagine you were born in a small rural village somewhere in the UK. You went to primary school there, grew up among all your childhood friends, you knew the couple who ran the post office because you called for sweets every week and, later in life, the family who ran the local pub where you enjoyed your first legal pint.

The thing is, once through college, it would probably become increasingly evident that continuing to live the rural idyll was going to become almost impossible – at least without the continued benevolence of your parents.

You might be able to find work in a workshop, the local garage, on a farm or even back at the pub. However, with so many properties snapped up as second homes by affluent city-dwellers or as holiday cottages, finding affordable property in Britain’s villages has become almost impossible. As a result, so many young people are forced to leave the communities where they grew up and to head for urban areas. By default, villages have become the bastions for the retired.

The Government’s announcement of a Rural Productivity Plan this week therefore has to be welcomed ( In short, it means more affordable homes will be built in villages, giving families the option of remaining closer together.

“All too often young people find themselves exiled from the place they grew up as they are forced to move away to find a home of their own,” saidCommunities Secretary Greg Clark.

“That’s why we’re putting power directly in the hands of rural councils to give the go-ahead for new Starter Homes in their area so local young first time buyers can continue to be a vital part of their communities,” he added.

It sounds great and, if it happens – and happens soon – it’s will be a massive relief for thousands and a policy which could help rejuvenate the concept of the extended family.

On the other hand, it will be a huge shame if, instead, it turns out to be another piece of empty rhetoric or a promise left un kept.

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