The constant demand for affordable housing for local people could be at least partly met by buying up existing holiday cottages and second homes, according the Yorkshire Dales Society.

Its joint secretary, Colin Speakman, argues that meeting local need should not mean unrestricted building in a nationally-protected landscape where, left unchecked, demand would be almost infinite.

Writing in the autumn issue of the society’s Review, he says that the argument that easing planning restrictions in remote areas would be in the local interest is a convenient pretence to allow more luxury barn conversions to benefit wealthy developers and outsiders.

Making better use of existing properties, even if it meant buying second or holiday homes on the open market, could provide homes for locals and reduce the demand for constant new development, he says.

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