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Cameron Watt
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Tim - well done for participating in this TV show. Although contrived, it has given real insights into the enoromous challenges of addressing Britain's most entrenced social problems. The part when the drug addict you were staying with shared his problems and the impact his parents' death (who also seem to have died from addiction-related health problems)was very touching. Your compassion was evident. You are a credit to the party.
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Thanks for the comments. I'd like to respond to a few of the points: There are strong safeguards in the planning system to protect the countryside against overdevelopment.That's as it should be, but dodgy village green applications are subverting the planning process. Some comments are suggesting that wholes swathes of rural England are in danger of being concreted over. That's not the case. This year fewer than 3,000 affordable homes will be built in rural England. That's about one home for every three parishes (there are more than 10,000). Organisations as diverse as the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Countryside Alliance recognise the vital role new affordable housing has in protecting rural England's future. The alternative to limited and sympathetic development in the countryside is that large parts of rural England become the preserve of the wealthy and the isolated elderly. It's not just people on low incomes that are priced out of the villages they grew-up in - huge numbers of young families employed in teaching, nursing and other professions have no chance of getting on the housing ladder. That's why shared ownership and other schemes have a vital role to play in helping ensure villages remain diverse and vibrant communities. Most developments in villages are on a small scale - typically 6-12 homes, a mixture or properties for rent and shared ownership, and built to higher space, environmental and design standards that those of private developers - for example Cornwall Rural Housing Association's development in Lizard - Radio 4's You and Yours today included a package on the issue - see
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