WMN OPINION: New homes are needed but only in the right locations
One of the Westcountry's greatest needs is more homes. Although one of the region's more difficult debates is where they should be built, there is no doubt that there is a pressing need for more housing – especially some that is affordable.
A shortage of homes is stifling many rural communities and draining them of their young.
Many families have been priced out of rural villages with some communities, already bearing a larger than average number of old people, becoming virtual dormitories for pensioners.
That cannot be seen as a good thing – despite the legitimate concerns of residents who view new development with horror. Any exacerbation of the situation would see those communities eventually die.
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The most vibrant communities are those with a good mix of people all ages. The countryside needs young people for rural jobs and there are rural schools that need families with young children. Rural services, from pubs and village shops to community centres, churches and sports teams that all need young blood to keep them going.
Earlier this summer we reported a huge surge in the number of new homes being built here in the South West. Devon and Cornwall were hailed as being at the centre of a house building boom even though the amount of houses being built was less than half the number of new houses needed each year to tackle the "chronic shortage of homes".
Today's report shows what we must hope is a blip. South West house-building suffered a dip over the summer, bucking a national trend which saw the registration of new homes rise by a quarter.
The latest set of statistics recorded a 12% drop from June to August with just 3,284 new registrations compared to 3,737 over the same period last year. It was the only reverse in England and Scotland but mirrored falls in supply in Wales and Northern Ireland.
It is not all doom and gloom. The number of new homes built this year is still nine percent higher than last year.
The homes crisis remains one that needs tackling.
Families need houses built in the right locations, in the right style and at the right density.
The challenge to builders and communities will be to make sure growth continues, but always in the right places.