Rural Life Destroyed By Commuters

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The Independent Online
RESIDENTS OF Long Marston, Warwickshire, have had a bitter taste of what happens when local shops and services are swept aside to make room for commuters.

Long Marston has 140 homes. The Tudor houses are much smaller than those being built for commuters. A shop, post office and petrol station have been demolished to make way for "executive" housing.

The local shop is particularly missed, says Lisa Blaxall, 30, a mother: "It has massively affected village life. It was the meeting place. It was where the elderly went to collect their pensions. People called in every day for newspapers. Without it the village is changed."

The lack of a local police or fire service also concerns residents, who believe the emergency services' 25-minute journey to Long Marston is too long.

Jean Matthews, 64, treasurer of the local WI, said: "I was born in the village so I've seen a great many changes. It was just a rural community; there were no executive houses. We've been taken over."

Young couples have problems finding affordable housing. The new houses cost over pounds 200,000. Many people move away.

The local bus service is so poor that residents of Long Marston and three nearby villages held coffee mornings to buy a 16-seat bus. Staffed by volunteers, it takes elderly residents on the three-mile journey to collect their pensions.

Children have no play area. Villagers have tried to buy a plot of land to build a playground but are always out-bid by developers.