National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

26 April 2010

Rural housing needs to be put at the top of the agenda for the next government to enable young people to go into farming and for rural communities to survive.

Catherine Brabner of the National Housing Federation told the ARAC forum at the YFC agm in Torquay on Saturday  first-time buyers were being forced out of the countryside, and rural communities were at risk of becoming the preserve of the wealthy, second-home owners and the elderly.

"Housing has barely come up during this general election and we need to get it much higher up the political agenda," she told YFC members attending the forum to debate housing, secure farming futures and future CAP reform.

"Rural communities need to stay as mixed communities, where people are able to buy a paper, have a pint or go to the garage for petrol. Affordable housing has to be an essential part of that."

English Rural Housing Association's Adrian Maunders told YFC members they needed to turn to their councils to get help locally rather than relying on government for change.

"Our land use policy allows affordable properties to be built, but money put aside for affordable rural housing hasn’t been spent over the last few years," he said.

YFC members debating the issue identified house prices, being outbid by developers, the struggle to get land passed for development and the additional problems faced by single young people trying to find affordable homes as key issues facing young people looking for an affordable roof over their heads in rural areas.

YFC members went away resolved to stand up and make their views heard by lobbying and petitioning at local level and strengthening their case by suporting one another. "Knowledge is power," discussion group facilitator Hollie Harris told the forum. "Persistence is key. Pester your parish councils, and your district councils, confirm there is a need for affordable housing."

NFYFC's rural housing guide can offer help with this issue.


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