New research from the National Housing Federation (NHF) has warned that a way of life is disappearing, as rural schools, pubs and post offices are being forced to close down due to ageing and dwindling populations.
Just in the last five years, 52 schools have closed down. Since 2011, 81 post offices have shut. The NHF’s research found that since March 2013, a staggering 1,365 rural pubs have closed their doors.
It seems that a lack of affordable housing in rural communities is one of the causes of the exodus. The Rural Life Monitor found that the lack of housing is driving young families and working people out of rural areas. It predicts that be 2039, almost half of households in the countryside will be aged 65 or over.
It argues that building just a few affordable homes for young families in rural areas could preserve the life of England’s towns and villages.
“Make no mistake, rural life as we know it is disappearing fast,” said David Orr, chief executive at the NHF. “Families and young people wanting to settle, work and grow in rural England are being priced out of areas they’ve known all their lives.
“The impact of this is huge. A lack of truly affordable housing is putting a huge strain on rural economies, populations and vital community services – schools are closing their doors forever to pupils and pubs are serving their last ever orders to locals.”