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When your 'res' is more 'des' than you...
Pateley Bridge
Pateley Bridge

What happens when your home town becomes highly desirable?

Ask anyone who's grown up in the Yorkshire Dales National Park - who now can't even hope to buy a house there...

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Yorkshire Dales

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Seduced by the clean air, breathtaking scenery and high quality of life, more and more people want to move to the Yorkshire Dales.

» Read a different perspective

However, for some, the area's desirability has also been its downfall. The sheer demand for property in the park's picturesque villages has resulted in rocketing house prices. The average house in the Yorkshire Dales National Park costs £226,096, that's compared to £102,000 in Bradford or £188,766 in Craven*.

But most people living and working in the National Park are paid the minimum wage. The result is that people, in particular young people, are forced to move away, unable to buy, and in some cases even rent a house.

The popularity of the area as a haven for outsiders is proven by the fact that at least 15% of all houses are holiday or second homes. In certain villages this figure is believed to increase to 60%. As a consequence, locals complain of 'ghost town' syndrome during the winter months caused by those who "open their windows once a year".

Understandably, there is resentment. Locals who are unable to buy a house in the village they have been brought up in are always going to blame those incomers whose wealth has made such increases possible. But as the property market is a free one, how can anyone interfere with market forces?

Kettlewell
Kettlewell - with views like these...

In 2004, the Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) made the decision to do just that, interfere in the park's housing market, in order to try and keep its rural communities local. In January 2005, despite objections, the YDNP Authority voted to implement a system of restricted occupancy in a bid to enable locals to buy houses in the area.

The restricted occupancy housing plan will prevent new housing from being bought as second homes or as holiday lets. The YDNP Authority claim that nearly all new homes - including barn conversions - will be built to meet demand from local people and will be at more affordable prices.

As with any radical plan, this one has its supporters and detractors. Local wannabee homeowners think it does not go far enough and believe that loopholes are already being dreamt up which will enable property developers to continue maximising profits. The arbitrary period of time which will qualify a person as 'local has also been questioned, is three years long enough?

On the flipside, Yorkshire Dales estate agents Dacre, Son and Hartley are unconvinced that the plan will prevent house prices reaching levels dictated by the open market. They also predict that builders will refuse to take on projects if they were asked to drop their charges to build cheaper homes.

What do you think about the solution?
Fill in the form below to join in the debate.

If you have a comment, fill in the form below

David Speed
so what its clearly a good thing if it keeps tradition in tact

Ms H King
This is not just a rural problem, house prices have rocketed throughout the UK. Lots of people can't afford to buy a house where they live or want to live, and the problem is as bad in London, city centres,and coastal areas as it is in "the country". Why should one group be helped at the expense of others?

Tim Staddon
Why doesn't the government do something sensible, like collate from the Land Registry a list of all untitled dwellings, find out what's abandoned and what isn't, take adverse possession of that property, and then compile a register of families offering to invest in bringing that property up to a liveable standard? I'd happily spend £75k on renovating a derelict four bedroom house for my family to live in - even if the property was a not-for-resale lease rather than freehold. It's got to be better than paying three times as much on the open market for a pathetic, cramped new-build.

Alistair
Paul. My wife and I have just moved to York and are getting on fine with people. We are Scots and don't find any problems. Like anywhere it's easy to avoid the Mrs Martins and their views with little effort. You have to judge a place for yourself and can't do that unless you give it a go!

Ann Iveson
I am a Londoner living in York for the past 25 years. When I first came to Yorkshire I was living in a small village just outside Wakefield. I survived there for three years - and I mean survived. If folk think North Yorkshire people are hostile they should try living in West Yorkshire. They cross the road there to avoid you because you are an incomer! York is a lovely cosmopolitan place and although I still get homesick for Kent (where I grew up) even after all these years I am more than happy here. I have many friends in the area and I can honestly say that I have never had anybody offer me any type of hostility. I certainly could not afford to sell up and go back to Kent because I would need twice the money for a similar house. Stop whinging about York and North Yorkshire they are lovely places and let's face it you can't get much better than the Dales.

David Prentice
I certainly cannot disagree with the principle but it has to be remembered this does only apply to new builds and conversions of which there will be few; however the two root causes of the problem can only be tackled by central government, but sadly I doubt that they will wish to do so. Firstly, it is not right that second homes (often the smaller and more affordable) can be bought and then left empty for most of the week or indeed the year. Secondly, there appears to be a clear agenda to overpopulate our small island through uncontrolled immigration; part of this process necessitating the ever more concreting over our precious countryside. In turn the latter encourages people to buy second homes in what will become one of the last oasisís of true countryside. Itís a vicious circle!

Paul Coyle
I will shortly be moving to Yorkshire from the South-East for work (I have recently been made redundant). I am also a Scot by birth. I am more than a little concerned about the racist & xenophobic outpourings of your Mrs J Martin? Is this the common view in North Yorks? If it is, maybe I would be better passing up the job and going on the dole!

Stephen Sprague
Having been born in Enland but living in Australia most of my life my children cannot afford to buy in Sydney.It is a shame to see it happen,greedy developers and bad government planning are to blame here.

Susan Smith
15 years to become a local!! Play fair, I have recently relocated to Yorkshire for work purposes, Why on earth should I not be allowed to buy a house just because I was previously living elsewhere?

Iain Lauder
I think you should all stop your whinging. I tolerated life in North Yorkshire for just over two years when I was in my mid twenties and it's an awful place. I have no idea why anyone thinks it's desirable - as the previous postings show, the locals are hostile to any newcomers are progressive ideas. Granted, locals might not be able to buy the houses and this is unfortunante, but this is a problem that exists throughout the United Kingdom.

Pam Fielding
It really is not confined to North Yorkshire - it still hurts when your own children cannot afford to be anywhere near the family, as the previous email, we are in Camden NSW Australia and suffer land shortage (can you believe ) and high prices for land, and developers into a very pretty rural country town !

Elizabeth Graham
This is a problem in many areas in Canada too. Perhaps very high taxes could be charged on houses that are only used as a second home, and so are only occupied for a short period of time in the summer. The extra money from this could be used to supplement local builders to erect affordable houses for local people?

Mrs J Martin
After the 2nd WW we had our surounding farmland compulsory purchased by the then GLC and massive housing estates took away our countryside and our identity. Further, we have been invaded by people from many different countries and yet nothing is said or allowed to be said. The housing being built now is no more than the size of small dog kennels and the prices are outrageous, workmanship questionable, and greedy developers well in with councils win all the way to the bank. There is no self-build land available here. But again we in the home counties are not allowed to complain. I love N Yorkshire, it's my father's homeland and I want you to know I truly believe the answer is that England is no longer England; it's ruled by the Scots and occupied by any foreigner who cares to settle. We will never be able to be at home in our own country. We must get the population down to no more than 40 to 45 million if we are ever going to have an opportunity to revive our quality of life here in our beautiful England, home counties or N. Yorkshire, and build the homes we want, not the homes we are told we want.

Robert Kingston
The idea appears to be a solution,the execution is flawed.What would happen if all desirable areas re-acted that way?disaster.

Mr Anon
I've lived in the Pateley area all my life, and live in one of the new houses for local people. The build quality is disgusting and we are not allowed to buy them. As for the builders having to drop their charges, they won't have to if all the middlemen are cut out. Rather then tendering the jobs out to big development companies they should let the local builders bid for the contracts which will create a few new jobs. And no three years isn't long enough to be classed local, it should be at least fifteen.

clive arblaster
It is a worldwide problem for our young people to get in to the market,its the same here in australia



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* That's according to the Land Registry figures for 2004.
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