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(Beware of all imitations!) This was intended as a comment to the BBC Farming Today Programme, 5.45 this morning, available on I player. Unfortunately the Beeb thinks one can comment in but 1000 characters, one should do that on Twitter. ********************

It was interesting to hear David Butterworth on the Farming Today Programme speaking of the need for Rural Housing. Everyone is entitled to have decent accommodation. Two pieces of Government Legislation did immeasurable damage to the availability of housing to rent. There was the ‘Sale of Council Housing’ and The ‘Enfranchisement of Leasehold Property’ Acts.

The Village whereby I live used to have not only Council Houses, but too MOD owned housing. Much of this was sold off , most often at a concessionary price, with little money initially changing hands, as the where with all to purchase the Property, as likely as not was loaned to the purchaser by the Vendor Council. Such housing hereby is re-selling for close on £200,000.Thus once affordable housing is no longer affordable, either to rent or to buy, and fragmented Estates are difficult to redevelop.

When it comes to NIMBYISM there is an ‘I’m all right Jack’ syndrome prevalent, mention was made of ‘the wrong sort of people moving in’ not sure whom such persons might be, unless of course the suggestion is that affordable housing is likely to go to persons not indigenous to the area. That is a fact, ‘our’ village and ‘its’ remaining Council Housing, in South West Wiltshire will be as liable to have new tenants from Salisbury Swindon or Trowbridge as anywhere more local. This is because the houses are not the property of our Parish, but belong to the Unitary Authority. One may wonder who the people are who should be entitled to local affordable housing. Should it be available to the children of relative newcomers such as myself of thirty years standing, or to the children of the current tenants of Social Housing, who were themselves often enough more recently shipped in from elsewhere? We all have to move on in life, there is no way I could afford to buy any sort of a house in the Village from whence I came, and if my children have not sought accommodation locally, it is because their own and their husband’s careers have dictated that they live two to three hundred miles away. Opportunities to enjoy ones Grand Children are few and far.

It is no good providing any sort of affordable housing for young persons, unless there are jobs to provide them with a living. All too often it can be the newcomers to an area who have no wish to re-accommodate, let alone newly accommodate workplaces in their Retirement/Dormitory area. One hears of the need to support the Village Shops, Two neighbouring Villages have started their own Community Shop. Long live all village shops, albeit a forlorn cry, for the reality here, is that the majority of us shop in the near by towns at Tesco or Waitrose etc, or even shop on line, which oft occasions delivery within 24 hours.

One of the most important things for the ‘Dispossessed’ if they will excuse the term, is that they volunteer their Services to their Local Parish or Town Council. Our Village has had two vacancies for months on end. Two local villages had no one at all standing at the last Parish Council Election. Things are much the same elsewhere there is a Village outside Henley that has four Councillor vacancies.
‘Get on your bike’ is I believe the technical term.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009.

contact : John B. Pope
Email : pionono@tiscalli.co.uk