Wednesday, 26 September 2012

From Town Centres to English Villages!

Yorkshire Post says: We're 'Sleep-walking to disaster'!
MUCH of what appears in the Northern Voices' publication about planning and architecture is on the topic of town centres.  For example, Debbie Firth in the current issue NV13 writing about 'Rochdale's Link4Life: Bread & Circus Bias'.  But the English countryside has its own problems too.  Yesterday's Yorkshire Post reported on an investigation they had done on the slow growth of populations in some of the rural villages of England, declaring:  'FEARS are growing over the long-term future of towns and villages across the region where populations are now forecast to grow by tiny margins over the coming decades.' 

It seems that Ryedale and Richmondshire in the Yorkshire Dales are among four of the region's districts where experts say 'little or no population growth will happen over the next 25-years...'.   This, in its turn, threatens the sustainablity of many English villages and the services they depend on. 

Yesterday, Jack Blanchard, Political Editor of the Yorkshire Post, wrote:  'The link between population and economic growth is well established, and the forecasts have left some local politicians concerned about the future of their local areas.'    And, John Blackie, leader of the district council in Richmondshire, where the population is set to grow by a mere 3.6% in the naxt 25-years, says:  'The services that we depend on will gradually fold; they will collapse before our eyes.  Shops and pubs will go.  Then you will find that everything is a distant drive away and it becomes too much for people - and they move closer to the schools.  They will be replaced with second-home owners and these communities will simply be dead in the week.'  Consequently, the price of houses in these areas goes through the roof, and young locals can't afford to buy them.

Failure to prepare for the huge increase in older people who will need care and backing over the next 25 years will only make matters worse.  In the borough of Scarborough more than 40% of residents will be 65 or over by 2028, over twice the national average.  The Yorkshire Post says:  'The figures suggest that in areas such as these (Scarborough and Richmondshire), as young people move away there are dwindling numbers of working people left behind to support the elderly and infirm.

One wonders what the anarchist writer and critic on planning and architecture (see his book 'A Child in the Country') would have to say about this, were he still alive?

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