Houses in the Lake District

by David Murray on 14 October 2011

in Opinion

I was encouraged to see the recent reports that the Lake District National Park Authority was proposing hundreds of new affordable houses to be spread around the national park, and would be carrying out consultations.

This consultation programme is now in progress, and Chris Warren, the national park’s Spatial Planning and Communities Team Leader, said yesterday:

We’ve been so pleased with the positive reactions we’ve had in many places, and a lot of people recognise that we’re doing something proactive to support the local community. Clearly people haven’t always agreed with our ideas, and it’s important that we learn about all of these concerns.
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Affordable housing for the local population is desperately needed, and this initiative is to be warmly welcomed. The Lake District must not be allowed to continue its slide into an area depopulated of its native inhabitants as house prices rise beyond anything they can hope ever to afford.

But here comes another point; will the Lake District planning authority be relaxing their stringent construction rules to make it possible for houses to be built at affordable prices?

Even given affordable housing, however, local young people will stay only if there is work for them. Seasonal tourism employment is not enough. As I’ve said on this blog before, there must be a more sustainable balance between environmental, social and economic factors in the planning system of national parks – sutainable in the sense that future generations of local people will find it both desirable and financially feasible to stay there.

If the boundaries of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks are to be extended (a point on which I am highly ambivalent) a change toward greater emphasis on economic development becomes even more urgent.

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