Magazine article Public Finance

Planning Shake-Up Needed to Save Rural Villages

Magazine article Public Finance

Planning Shake-Up Needed to Save Rural Villages

Article excerpt

A major shake-up of the planning system is needed to breathe new life into rural communities, ministers were told this week.

Homes in rural areas will remain beyond the reach of most buyers unless planners allow extensions to existing towns and villages for shops and other facilities, according to a review led by Liberal Democrat MP Matthew Taylor.

The review, commissioned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, found that rural communities faced a downward spiral of decline, with services lost because those who work in them cannot afford property prices.

Instead of allowing bland housing and retail estates around traditional market towns, planning guidelines should support the growth of existing neighbourhoods and rural enterprise.

In villages, the review report added, well designed affordable housing could be provided through community-led initiatives that offered incentives to local landowners.

The Taylor Review, published on July 23, said house prices in rural areas were pushed up by large-scale migration over the past ten years. …

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