THE Countryside Alliance has said that affordable rural housing is essential.

Countryside Alliance executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said: “Earlier this year we heard, from the National Housing Federation, that the number of people aged between 30 and 44 who live in the countryside has dropped by nearly nine percent in the past decade, proof that we need more affordable homes in rural areas.

“A lack of affordable homes creates a vicious cycle, which if not broken, leads to the break-up of communities, a loss of services and villages that have no long term future.”

He added: “We need sensible development of housing and businesses in the countryside.”