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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Marsh residents 'want more homes'
Romney Marsh
People living on the Marsh wanted to preserve its character
People living on Romney Marsh in Kent are passionate about protecting its coastal wetland character but want more affordable housing to rent and buy.

That is the finding of the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC), which visited the Marsh in November as part of an England-wide fact-finding tour.

It said high house prices made life hard for people with local connections who wanted to stay in the area.

CRC members are to visit Ivychurch next week to report on its findings.

"People we spoke to on Romney Marsh told us how competitive the local housing market was, with very little social housing or affordable houses available to buy or rent," said Caroline Cotterell, who led the CRC inquiry.

Local people wanted to use their knowledge of the Marsh to have more say in the decisions affecting their area
Caroline Cotterell

"They told us of their concerns about changes in the local community as young people and families are being forced to move away and for elderly and less mobile people who are unable to move to suitable homes."

The CRC, a government advisory body which is part of the Countryside Agency, published its report on rural housing in England on 8 May.

It said that 8,752 affordable rural homes were needed in the South East each year over the next five years.

It is the highest figure for any region in England, where 70% of new households would be unable to afford market prices.

"People were passionate about protecting the character of the Marsh but argued strongly that carefully designed new development of social housing and affordable houses to buy and rent was necessary," said Ms Cotterell.

"Above all, local people wanted to use their knowledge of the Marsh to have more say in the decisions affecting their area."

Regional and local speakers will talk about local housing issues at the CRC meeting on 28 June at Ivychurch Village Hall.




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