The Government was urged yesterday to look at using taxes to stem the "negative impact" of second homes in rural "honeypot" areas.
Restrictions and changes to the Right to Buy legislation in country areas could help to ensure that subsidised homes remain in the affordable sector, according to the independent Affordable Rural Housing Commission.
The commission, chaired by former Channel 4 Political Editor Elinor Goodman, said there should be greater emphasis on the economic and social duty of National Park Authorities to encourage the building of affordable rural homes.
The commission said rural communities need a major increase in subsidised housing if the next generation is not to be priced out of the countryside.
The report sets out practical actions that the commission believes should be taken forward across all levels of government, voluntary and private sectors, if much needed low cost homes are to be built.
But it warns, that without such action, rural communities are being undermined as many people on lower, and even average incomes are leaving the countryside to find a home they can afford.
The 12-member commission calls for a minimum of eleven thousand affordable houses to be built each year in market towns and villages to meet identified need.
This is to be part of an approach that allows these communities to evolve and provide homes for people from all walks of life.
In addition it says there needs to be some private development, both to provide the first rung on the property ladder and to generate cross subsidy to help pay for the extra affordable housing.
It calls on Government to provide more money for rural homes, and to give the countryside a fair share of resources.
And it urges that regional and local planners and rural communities themselves should actively encourage well designed affordable housing as part of mainstream planning policy.
The commission was set up last July in response to widespread concern about the implications for rural communities in England of a shortage of affordable housing to rent or buy.
It aims to come up with practical solutions that would improve access to affordable housing for those who live and work in rural areas.
Elinor Goodman said "If we don't act now, more and more people will be priced out of the countryside-leaving rural communities to increasingly become dormitories for the better off and places where people go to retire or for the weekend. This, in turn, will undermine the social fabric of rural life.
"Our investigation has shown us that much good work is already being done. We've seen how affordable housing can improve the overall quality of a village and underpin its future.
"But to meet the scale of housing need in rural communities, in all regions, we recommend that 11,000 affordable homes need to be built-that's equivalent to around six new houses a year in each rural ward in England.
"Villages and country towns must be allowed to evolve in the way they did in the past-they can't just be preserved in aspic.
"Most can probably absorb some more houses, as long as they are in scale and character and maintain the identity of individual communities.
"What is needed now is for all those involved to embrace these changes and give rural housing the priority it deserves." ..SUPL: