Future of rural communities under spotlight


MPs, experts and stakeholders came together at an event organised by Hastoe Housing Association at the Conservative Party Conference to discuss how the successful continuation of rural communities can be ensured.

The key question at the heart of the debate was how to reverse the loss of young people from villages and ensure that rural life survives and thrives.

An expert panel was on hand to lead the debate, including:

  • Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton and Private Parliamentary Secretary to Rt Hon Michael Gove MP (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

  • Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman, NALC

  • Sue Chalkley chief executive, Hastoe Housing Association

  • Tom Fyans, director of Campaigns and Policy at the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England

  • James Noyes, head of Policy and Strategy at ResPublica

The event's chair was Elinor Goodman, former political editor of Channel 4 News and a Hastoe Board member.

Kevin Hollinrake MP said at the event: "highlighted how new proposals in the Housing White Paper will help bring forward more small sites in villages, which can provide much needed well-designed affordable homes for local people."

NALC’s chairman, Cllr Sue Baxter, reminded delegates that it is important for those in power to do some more focusing on rural communities. She further said: “Local parish and town councils are helping tackle housing shortages in their areas through neighbourhood planning.”

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