Hastoe puts future of rural communities under the spotlight at Conservative Party Conference

Delegates at this year’s Conservative Party Conference came together on Tuesday evening to discuss how we can ensure the successful continuation of our villages and rural communities.
The key question at the heart of last night’s debate was how we can reverse the loss of young people from our villages and ensure that rural life survives and thrives.

An expert panel was on hand to lead the debate, including:

  • Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton and Private Parliamentary Secretary to Rt Hon Michael Gove MP (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs);
  • Sue Chalkley Chief Executive, Hastoe Housing Association;
  • Sue Baxter Chairman, National Association of Local Councils (NALC);
  • Tom Fyans Director of Campaigns and Policy at the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England
  • James Noyes Head of Policy and Strategy at ResPublica;
  • The event’s Chair was Elinor Goodman, former political editor of Channel 4 News and a Hastoe Board member.

Kevin Hollinrake MP said: “Last night’s event was an excellent meeting. It highlighted how new proposals in the Housing White Paper will help bring forward more small sites in villages, which can provide much needed well-designed affordable homes for local people.”

Hastoe Chief Executive Sue Chalkley said: “A survey published only this weekend showed that rural homes are now 20% more expensive than those in urban areas and getting on the rural property ladder is at its most challenging for young first-time buyers.

“As a result thousands of young people are being forced to abandon family and social connections and move away from their communities to find a home they can afford. This demographic shift is happening now and, if it continues, will result in our rural communities becoming the preserve of the wealthy, the old, and second home owners. Hardly a recipe for sustainable rural communities. We must ensure that people of all ages are able to live and work in the rural communities they were born or grew up in.”


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