The Death Of The English Village

 In Housing, Social Life

In the past, Ann and I lived just outside the Lake District. Even by the early 1980’s, the area was full of dead villages. The cottages still stood, but the owners dwelt in Newcastle and Manchester. Village shops, schools, congregation, all dead. Now, here in the Peak District, the same scenario plays out. Large houses like Thornbridge Hall, and myriads of pubs and restaurants, cry out for staff. They will fail. Working class people can no longer live here because it’s too expensive. Our freedom to do what we like, if we have the money, takes precedence over everything. The death of the English village continues apace.

Holiday lets

We have been in our rented barn for 6 months. In that time, at least two more cottages have become holiday lets. They join a myriad of existing holiday cottages and second homes. While I accept that these cottages are now renovated and attractive, they were once relatively cheap places to rent. Their energy rating was low but they were small enough to cosy up in front of a coal fire. These people used the pub, the church and small shops. One of the new holiday lets is even called, The Butchers Cottage. Photographs from the past show lots of working class schoolkids.

The death of the English Village

It would be easy for me to castigate the rich. Morally, they should put their investments into the Stock Market, not residential property. Whatever, the problem is really the money markets. For instance, it’s ridiculously cheap to borrow money to create holiday lets at the current time. However, it is for government to see the social catastrophe of all this and act. They should make it more difficult to change a low cost rented property into a holiday let, or even a second home. Increased tax is perhaps the answer. As for Ann and I, we will continue to walk around our basically deserted village. The miners, the farm workers, the shops, all gone. The remaining wage slaves, either hunkered down in front of a computer, or off to work in a car. The village is becoming an investment opportunity, not a place to live.

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Peakland GrangeLoss of old England