Younger generation forced out of villages

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Young people are being forced out of our rural communities due to a 64 per cent increase in south Northants house prices over the past decade.

As district residents cry out for affordable housing, figures from the National Housing Federation show the number of people between the ages of 30 and 44 living in rural parts of the East Midlands has dropped by nine per cent over the past ten years.

In the areas which saw the biggest fall in under 45s, house price also rose above the average for the region.

South Northants saw a four per cent fall in under 45s and a 64 per cent increase in house prices, while in the neighbouring Daventry district there was a four per cent fall in under 45s and a 67 per cent increase in house prices. After 20 years of lobbying by Croughton Parish Council, the construction of nine new homes – with priority given to those with a local connection – will start next month.

Parish chairman, councillor Brian Tomlin, said the new homes will help ensure the future of the village and added: “We are pleased this is going ahead at last as we need these houses to bring younger families to the village to ensure the survival of our school, which is a tremendous asset to the village.”

A spokesman for SNC said: “House prices are high in south Northants and affordability is a key issue. The average house price is £250,000, based on Land Registry sales.

“One of the key issues affecting the affordability of housing is the gap between incomes and house prices. An added concern is the level of deposit required to secure a mortgage. This makes many village properties unaffordable for local people.”

She said the council had delivered 250 new affordable homes over the last five years, and added: “The provision of affordable housing to meet the housing needs of local people can contribute towards sustainable and balanced communities. The council’s affordable housing policy 2013 sets out that any residential development over 15 dwellings should incorporate 40 per cent affordable housing.

“As a council and in partnership with others we are delivering new affordable housing across the district, including rented and intermediate products such as shared ownership.”

SNC has ploughed £90,000 in the Croughton scheme, but Christopher Sparrow, chairman of the Northants Rural Housing Association, said they still need 382 affordable homes in rural parts of the county over the next five years. He added: “This kind of small rural development helps build communities, by supporting local people to live near friends and family and maintain the demand for local shops, schools, post offices and pubs.”