Rural communities feel like they are “invisible”, claims a new study, with affordable housing the greatest challenge they will face in the next decade.
More than 3,000 people responded to The Prince’s Countryside Fund and Scotland’s Rural College’s Recharging Rural survey to shed light on the issues affecting towns and villages across the UK and how they feed each other to create social isolation.
To aid this, respondents pointed to the need for improved infrastructure with reliable, resilient, high-speed broadband and universal mobile coverage to harness the “bright future of digital possibilities”.
The closures of banks, post offices and pubs were also found to have contributed to the increasing feelings of remoteness that were reported over the last decade.
The centralisation of school, library and health services as well as leisure facilities coupled with the effect of commuting and mass housing developments were also cited as leading to community breakdown.
A minority had seen an upturn in opportunities for community empowerment through asset and land purchase – but the increased unaffordability of housing and the decline in the number of rural businesses and employment opportunities has seen an outmigration of young people to the cities.