Two articles below from the Rural Services network are essentially telling the same story: it’s too expensive to fund rural communities (particularly health and social care for older people) so let’s increase densities in towns and persuade people to live there instead.
What seems to be the message is “build it and they will come” – but who will come and why?
If you have no primary school, no doctor, no bus service in your rural village are you expected to up sticks and move to a town or city where housing density increases and these services are supposedly more easily accessed and where transport is supposedly better?
Very little of the new housing in towns and cities is affordable or built for low-income families or pensioners. Infrastructure is not being built to service the new houses (roads in Cranbrook are still unadopted) and doctors are stretched to their limit with current patients.
Community hospitals are likely to be closed in half of our towns, so, in a deepest rural area you will actually probably be closer to a community hospital than if you live in a town – if you have a car. Maternity services will be non-existent for rural parents.
What would persuade rural dwellers to move to towns where facilities are just as bad as in their villages? People who CHOSE a village carefully in the first place?
And how would those villages survive if they COULD and did move? Only the rich will soon be able to afford rural living (where no access to a “transport hub” or a school or a doctor will not worry them) and ordinary rural families and older people on average incomes will be forced into inadequate town and city properties whether they like it or not.
And why, if this IS the way of the world, is there still so much pressure to build more and more houses in these small villages?
Is this really the answer to our problems?
Cranbrook or Uplyme? Honiton or West Hill?
Soon you may have no choice.