Row over building in the countryside

Should building be stopped in rural areas to save the countryside? Photo: ITV Anglia

Claims from the chairman of the National Trust that the majority of housing in the future should be in towns and cities have drawn a sharp response from the East of England. Sir Simon Jenkins made his comments at a housing conference in London.His view is that youngsters raised in the countryside shouldn't automatically expect to live near their parents when they grow up.

Chairman of the National Trust Sir Simon Jenkins says future housing should be built in towns and cities. Credit: John Phillips/EMPICS Entertainment

Guy Snelling, an estate agent at Aylsham in Norfolk, doesn't think that's very sensible. He said: "Rural areas need to flourish and to do so housing needs to be built there. If you stop that our villages will just die."

Diane Turner runs Diane's Pantry, a food shop in the market town of Reepham near Norwich, where there's a local campaign against plans to build hundreds of new homes there.

"There needs up be sensible provision," she said. "We need new, affordable housing but not so many that it puts such a huge strain on local amenities like schools and doctors' surgeries."

The CRPE, the campaign group to protect rural England, says it disagrees with Sir Simon Jenkins.

Kate Houghton of the CPRE said: "We want a living countryside and if people are going to work in the countryside and keep strong family ties then we need to make sure there are affordable houses."