New report reveals Richmondshire’s ageing population

A new report has forecast a big increase in the number of elderly people living in Richmondshire by 2035, while the number of young people living in the Yorkshire Dales is set to fall sharply.

The report, Attracting and Retaining Families and Younger People to Richmondshire and the Yorkshire Dales, will be put before members of Richmondshire District Council next week.

The study predicts that inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) areas of Richmondshire, the population will fall overall between 2014 and 2035 by 1,147 – a drop of 18.23 per cent.

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Outside the national park the populated is forecast to rise by 5,415 – an increase of 11.7 per cent – over the same period.

However, the report predicts that both inside and outside the park there will be a big increase in the number of people aged 80 or over.

In both areas, the number is set to more than double by 2035, with an increase from 407 to 911 inside the park and 2,030 to 4,079 outside forecast.

The number of people aged over 65 is also predicted to rise sharply.

In contrast, the number of young people in the district will rise moderately outside the park’s boundaries, but fall sharply inside.

The report states: “By 2035 it is estimated that there will be a marked shift in the shape of the age profile in Richmondshire.

“The proportion of the population aged 65+ is projected to increase from 19% in 2014 to 29% by 2035.

“This is most apparent in the area of the district that falls within the YDNP and results in a declining population.

“Outside of the YDNP population growth is positive which reflects the youthful age structure resulting from the presence of the large military population at Catterick Garrison.”

The figures are shown in more detail in this table:

The report says that while the working age population across the  district increases by 6.19 per cent between 2014 and 2035, there are marked difference inside the YDNP, which holds approximately three fifths of the geographical area but only 12 per cent of the population.

It adds: “The issue of a falling working age population is most pronounced in the more sparsely populated rural parishes.

“These trends have been developing over a number of years and the consequences can be seen in a number of ways but one of the most telling is in relation to education.

“Generally, pupil numbers in primary schools outside of Richmond and Catterick Garrison show little percentage change since 2008/9.

“However, there are seven where rolls have fallen to a critical level. Four of these are in the YDNP.”

The reasons for the decline in population numbers are varied, the document says, with the most common factors being quoted as poor access to higher paid employment, poor access to suitable affordable housing, physical remoteness and poor access to essential services and remoteness from cultural life.

The report sets out details of an action plans to attract and retain more young families and younger people to live and work in the rural parts of the district and wider Yorkshire Dales.

The plans include:

  • increasing the levels of new house building
  • Broadening the type and tenure of new dwellings
  • Identifying and delivering employment sites
  • Delivery of economic regeneration projects in each District
  • Delivering high speed broadband and mobile telephony
  • Creating a high quality cultural offer
  • Marketing the Districts and the National Park as a place to live and work

The plan will be discussed at a meeting of Richmondshire District Council’s corporate board on July 10.

To read the report in full click here.