30 March 1999
Living together preserves the countryside

A TREND for couples to live together means more of the countryside will be preserved.

This was the deduction made from government figures released yesterday which estimate that England needs 300,000 fewer homes than previously forecast.

The figures show that the number of people living on their own was lower than previously calculated, while the number of cohabiting couples was higher.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England said the volatility in the figures showed that the government was right to move away from a “predict and provide” strategy.

This strategy, of building according to estimate, had threatened to mean that large areas of the countryside would be turned over to housing.