Quality of life for rural people ‘in decline’ says poll

Half of people who live in the countryside think their quality of life has declined in the last five years.

The closure of shops, schools and pubs and the rise of second-home owners in villages have left residents with a dwindling sense of community, a poll for the National Housing Federation has found.

The majority of people said they believed the government cared more about issues affecting people in urban areas than those in the countryside

David Orr, NHF chief executive, said the results reflected the growing fear within rural communities that traditional life was in “terminal decline”.

Local councils needed to do more to provide inexpensive homes in rural areas as a means to saving traditional village life, he added.

“People are seeing key local services like shops, pubs and local schools disappear from their village in record numbers as high house prices and a lack of affordable homes forces families and young people out of their communities.

“Until local authorities begin to properly assess the true extent of rural housing need, at village level, and draw up action plans to deliver the new homes so desperately needed, there’s a very real danger that traditional village life will disappear.”

| 45% of people living in rural areas have seen shops, schools and pubs close in their village since 2004

| 62% believe there is a shortage of affordable housing in their area

| 66% believe the Government cares more about issues affecting people living in urban areas than those in the countryside.

| 52% thought only people on the very highest incomes could afford to buy a home in their village