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SUS­TAIN­ING OUR VIL­LAGE COM­MU­NI­TIES

More than 2,000 English vil­lages are clas­si­fied as un­sus­tain­able for growth. Re­tire­ment vil­lages of­fer a way of reversing the sit­u­a­tion and are in­creas­ingly be­ing seen as part of the so­lu­tion as Kent wres­tles with where best to put the much-needed new homes.

The tag of ‘un­sus­tain­able’ can of­ten be a self-ful­fill­ing prophecy. Hous­ing al­lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing the de­liv­ery of af­ford­able homes in these com­mu­ni­ties, is of­ten highly re­stricted or not per­mit­ted, ex­ac­er­bat­ing the ru­ral hous­ing cri­sis by re­duc­ing sup­ply and in­flat­ing prices.

Iron­i­cally, these new homes could help sus­tain these com­mu­ni­ties by rein­vig­o­rat­ing the lo­cal pub, vil­lage shop or pri­mary school, whether by young peo­ple ar­riv­ing in a vil­lage or older res­i­dents re­main­ing. Of­ten the call is to pro­vide more hous­ing and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple, help­ing them to re­main in the lo­cal area and un­der­pin small com­mu­ni­ties. Meet­ing the as­pi­ra­tions of down­siz­ers frees up of­ten larger homes for fam­i­lies and can have a pos­i­tive im­pact on our com­mu­ni­ties.

At the heart of the is­sue is the ques­tion: what do we want our com­mu­ni­ties to be in the fu­ture and how can we sus­tain them? The con­clu­sion has to be that, with an age­ing pop­u­la­tion, re­tire­ment vil­lages of­fer a more sus­tain­able so­lu­tion with new, smaller-scale de­vel­op­ments meet­ing a hous­ing need, and in turn sup­port­ing lo­cal fa­cil­i­ties.

Matthew Wood­head, Di­rec­tor, DHA, Maid­stone Very dis­ap­pointed that your Ad­vent quiz in the De­cem­ber 2018 edi­tion con­tained er­rors. The an­swers in the Jan­uary edi­tion stated that Princess Alexan­dra, Char­lie Chap­lin and W C Fields were all born on Christ­mas Day (Q8). Well, Princess Alexan­dra was, but Char­lie and WCF died on that day.

Q20 sug­gested that Con­rad Hil­ton, Humphrey Bog­art and Isaac New­ton all died on 25 De­cem­ber when ac­tu­ally it was their birth dates. You have to be aware of the in­flu­ence of the Ju­lian calendar as far as Isaac New­ton goes. I trusted your an­swers and used the Char­lie Chap­lin ques­tion in a quiz of my own. Some peo­ple, bet­ter ac­quainted with Chap­lin’s life, pointed out my er­ror. Ac­tu­ally, it was yours. I hope you blush like I did.

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