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November 10, 2008 7:11 PM
Tim Farron MP and Cllr Vivienne Rees visiting an affordable home in Grasmere

More affordable homes are badly needed in the South Lakes, like these in Grasmere being visited by Tim Farron MP and Cllr Vivienne Rees

A groundbreaking public meeting on affordable housing was held by the Lakes parish affordable housing group and chaired by local councillor Vivienne Rees on Friday evening.

A panel of experts, including planners, housing associations and community land trust advisors made presentations and gave responses to questions.

Tim Farron MP was one of those at the meeting and used his contribution to urge planners to be less fussy when it came to taking up the suggestions of local communities. "There are many schemes for affordable homes that local communities are in favour of, but which seem to get turned down on technicalities. We lose nearly a third of our young people from our local area and we can't allow this to continue. There are sites, such as Low Ibbotsholme at Troutbeck Bridge that local people want to see developed, only to find that the National Park are resisting. This is so frustrating, especially when South Lakeland District Council are otherwise making good progress in helping to provide affordable homes."

Mr Farron also urged planners to help him with a proactive campaign to get disused farm buildings converted into affordable homes - a scheme that has won backing from the District Council and the National Union of Farmers, going under the title 'Home on the Farm'.