More young people could be priced out of villages

Rural living: Warning more affordable homes needed. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Rural living: Warning more affordable homes needed. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A surge of 'pensioner pockets' in North Norfolk and Waveney will see more young people priced out of the countryside unless more affordable homes in market towns and villages are created, a housing charity has warned.

Figures from the National Housing Federation suggest that almost one in five people living in North Norfolk will be aged over 65 by 2021, with one in four people in Waveney of retirement age,

It claims that the combination of high housing costs and below average wages means many workers and young families are unable to live in the villages and towns where they grew up.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: 'Our idealistic view of the English countryside is fast becoming extinct. Workers and families aspiring to live, work and grow up in the countryside can't find homes they can afford. If we don't build more homes, these places will become 'pensioner pockets' rather than the thriving, working communities they can be.

Jon Clemo, chief executive of Community Action Norfolk, said affordable housing in rural areas was a 'critical issue'. He said that jobs associated with tourism and care for older people did not tend to be high and relied on people being able to live and work locally. 'Affordable housing is crucial to meet the service needs of our communities.' He admitted there was no easy solution, but said supply in rural areas had to increase along with better use of empty homes.

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