Boost for Local Dales Homebuyers

Locals looking to get on the rural property ladder in the Yorkshire Dales will soon be given a helping hand.

A request from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) for restricted occupancy has received government approval, preventing new housing from being bought as second homes or as holiday lets.

After being priced out of the market as a result of ?second-homers? purchasing in the National Park and pushing up house prices as a result, residents in the Dales have struggled to afford inflated property prices in recent years and have been forced to move away from the area, causing an employment crisis.

Soon, nearly all new homes, including barn conversions, will be built to meet demand from local people and will be smaller, and therefore cheaper.

According to Peter Watson, the YDNPA?s Head of Planning, there is no logic in meeting open market demand for property in the Dales because it is not possible to build enough houses to bring prices down to levels local people can afford without destroying the landscape.

?The obvious approach is to build homes only for people who work here,? said Mr Watson.

He added: ?The intention is to give local people who might otherwise have to move out of the National Park to get on the housing ladder the opportunity to do so within the Park.?

UPDATE: January 19, 2005

The decision on whether to restrict new property purchases to local buyers will be discussed by the YDNPA today. The scheme, which has support from the local government planning inspector and local residents, is expected to win official backing.

Progress on the case is being closely followed by the Scottish Executive, and it has been reported that authorities in the Lake District and the North York Moors are considering similar schemes.