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March 19, 2010 12:00 AM

An innovative policy to create more affordable homes from disused and underused farm buildings has found a national platform as the Liberal Democrats adopt the policy for its manifesto.

The proposal is the brainchild of South Lakes MP Tim Farron. It has also been also been adopted by the Welsh Assembly, and South Lakeland District Council have agreed to provide grants of up to £30,000 to allow local people fund the conversion of disused farm buildings into affordable family homes.

Tim said: "We are in desperate need of affordable housing in rural areas. The average house price in South Lakeland is £250,000 while the average wage is just £17,000. It's vital that we take practical steps to tackle this challenge. I'm delighted that a scheme that began here in the South Lakes has now become national Liberal Democrat policy.

"Thirty percent of young people in South Lakeland leave the area and never come back because they are unable to get on the housing ladder. Our Home on the Farm scheme will help provide the affordable housing that will stop that trend."