Villagers' isolation increases as well-off families move in: Oliver Gillie looks at a call for planning systems to allow Britain's smaller communities to grow
Friday 29 July 1994
The number of well-off families living in the country and running two or more cars is increasing. But many young people and old people have no means of transport, and parents with small children are without transport during the day while their partner is at work.
Only one-quarter of parishes still has a daily bus service, and at the same time the decline in local shops and other services makes it extremely difficult for people in small villages to live on low incomes. There is no shop or post office in 40 per cent of parishes and 50 per cent of parishes now have no school, according to the report, Rural Services: challenges and opportunities.
Margaret Clark, director of rural services at the RDC, said: 'Although car ownership per household is higher in the countryside, the breadwinner often takes the car to work leaving the rest of the family without transport. Public policies need to recognise the problem so that ways can be found of increasing services in the country. The planning system, for example, needs to allow for villages to grow.'
Frequently there is a tension between incomers who are in search of a rural idyll and people who have always lived in the country, who see it as the place which provides their living. The incomers often want to stop the building of more houses and block business developments that change the countryside.
'Incomers can breathe new life into an area. They are often the entrepreneurs,' said Ms Clark. 'But in other areas the incomers are retired people or commuters who want the countryside to remain unchanged. However it is essential for the countryside to develop and change with the times.'
The RDC is a government agency charged with providing advice to central government on rural problems and in finding solutions. It advises on setting up community transport schemes, assists shopkeepers and provides finance for rebuilding or repair of village halls.
The commission is now calling for action to maintain the independence of village life. Special incentives are needed to encourage providers to deliver their services in the country, it says. GPs, for example, are given special rural practice payments, and small pharmacies, often run as part of GP surgeries, are subsidised. More subsidies of this type are needed.
Village post offices should be given more flexible contracts so they can diversify and sell theatre or lottery tickets, or act as centres for ordering library books.
'When a post office or shop provides more services, people who come in for one thing will buy something else. Communities prosper when there are more services available,' Ms Clark said.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence's own witness contradicts athlete's version of events
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
South Korea ferry: Captain Lee Joon-seok could face criminal investigation as over 280 remain missing
Peaches Geldof dead: Private funeral for the family and friends of the socialite will take place next week
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...