Page last updated at 09:18 GMT, Tuesday, 13 September 2005 10:18 UK

Cost 'key to rural homes crisis'

House sale signs
First-time buyers have difficulty affording homes in the 'golden triangle'

Rural residents are to tell a government adviser how difficult it is to buy a home in the triangle between, Leeds, York and Harrogate.

The Commission for Rural Communities is probing the problem of affordable homes and a forum will be held in Spofforth, near Wetherby, on Tuesday night.

Chairman of the Commission, Dr Stuart Burgess, is on a nationwide tour to canvass the views of rural residents.

Property prices and sky-high rents of some properties deter many locals.

Action needed

The event is being hosted at the village's Long Memorial Hall from 1830 BST where commission officials want to hear what action rural communities would like to solve the problem.

Care worker Joanne Gowlett said she was still living at her parents' home in Spofforth because she could not afford a mortgage, or even the rent, demanded for homes in the area.

"I'd like to make a life, but you can't.

"I'd like my own family, children, and a partner, but you can't do that under your mum's roof.

"You want your own space, but I can't... I'm not classed as a priority. I've no children, no husband, it's just a vicious circle really."

It is sad when people who are born and brought up in the village have to move away to find somewhere to live
Shirley Fawcett, Chairman of Spofforth with Stockeld Parish Council
Dr Burgess said: "The lack of affordable housing is an England-wide phenomenon.

"Its impact on rural people and communities can be particularly severe and demands immediate attention, which is why we have set up this urgent inquiry.

"We want to hear about problems facing the local communities in Spofforth and neighbouring parishes including Kirk Deighton, North Deighton, Little Ribston, Goldsborough, Follifoot, Kirkby Overblow, Sicklinghall and Netherby."

Mrs Shirley Fawcett, chairman of Spofforth with Stockeld Parish Council, said: "We are privileged to live in this part of the country, but it is sad when people who are born and brought up in the village have to move away to find somewhere to live."

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