Addressing the issues of the affordability and availability of housing in rural areas such as Richmondshire will be the next task for North Yorkshire’s Rural Commission.
Following January’s evidence-gathering session on jobs and the economy, the eight commissioners will sit in February to hear from individuals and organisations on the challenges and opportunities surrounding housing in the county.
Supported by the County Council, the commission consists of experts in rural economics, policy, community-led ventures, agriculture and the environment, business and media.
Chair of the Rural Commission, The Very Rev John Dobson DL, Dean of Ripon, said: “At our last session, we heard a great deal about improving connectivity via better transport, technology and education in relation to supporting jobs and the economy.
“Housing availability and affordability is also critical issue to the economy in rural areas in how it impacts on the availability of skills and the needs of businesses and employees.”
There are major shortages of affordable homes in large parts of the county’s rural districts, including Richmondshire, Ryedale and Craven, which is among the top five unaffordable areas to live in the Yorkshire and Humber region.
This is coupled with an acute shortage of affordable homes in national park areas.
Average house prices in Yorkshire Dales around one third higher than county average.
These conditions paint a picture of high relative house prices and low local wages that reflect characteristics of rural areas.
“The impact on the rural economy is to that the workforces becomes more remote from the work, particularly in lower paid jobs. This has an impact for businesses in terms of the recruitment and retention of workers.
Dean John said: “When we consider housing at our next session we hope to hear suggestions that will help us to address issues around understanding what the housing need is and where it is, planning application processes and affordability and availability of rural housing to build up a hard evidence base for the complex issues underpinning rural housing.
“In the meantime, I thank everyone who has already taken the time to send us evidence and to present to the commissioners and encourage others to grasp this opportunity to help us to support our county’s most rural communities to grow and prosper.”
The commissioners will hear some evidence in person, but will also examine submissions made via email to RuralCommission@northyorks.gov.uk
Guidance on the best way to submit evidence and opinions, raise points of interest or highlight matters of importance is available at www.northyorks.gov.uk/RuralCommission