Charges on second homes and plans for five new properties in every countryside parish are among radical solutions which will be examined to try and combat the rural housing crisis in North Yorkshire.

The issue will be near the top of the agenda for the county's new unitary authority, according to current North Yorkshire County Council chief executive Richard Flinton, who is chairman of the Rural Task Force set up to look at solutions.

His comments came as people were invited to have their say on a fresh set of planning policies for the Yorkshire Dales National Park, including a plan that would require all new housing to be for permanent residency only.

County-wide, young people especially are being priced out of the market. In many areas the cost of houses is £400,000 and above, while the average weekly wage is £530, forcing many people to move away.

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Mr Flinton said countryside communities at the epicentre of the housing crisis will be put at the forefront of planning policies to shape strategies for new homes. The Rural Taskforce is looking at an action plan to tackle the major issues blighting rural communities, from a lack of public transport, poor internet and mobile phone coverage and the need for more sustainable energy supplies.

Providing more affordable homes is the key issue, with calls for planning policies to take into account the need for more rural housing when the new council is launched.

Mr Flinton said: "The issue of affordable housing has long been a problem affecting countryside areas. We fully recognise that to ensure rural communities can remain sustainable in the future, there needs to be a greater focus on providing homes that people can actually afford.

"The launch of a new council in North Yorkshire provides us with an opportunity to have a renewed focus on issues such as the affordable housing crisis."

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The taskforce was set up to look at key recommendations from the North Yorkshire Rural Commission, which examined pressing problems affecting the countryside. The commission emphasised the urgent demand for affordable housing so people can stay in the rural communities where they grew up, stopping the exodus of young people. The high demand for second homes is increasing the crisis – there are 8,199 second homes in North Yorkshire, the highest number in the region.

The commission highlighted the need for reform, giving North Yorkshire County Council the power to levy charges on second homes which could then be used to fund affordable housing. It also said each parish in rural North Yorkshire should build five houses over a ten-year period with 40 per cent classed as affordable or for rent.

The North York Moors National Park Authority's director of planning, Chris France, told the Task Force there needed to be a "step-change" in the focus on rural housing. He called for the new authority, which will launch on April 1, to have planning policies putting more emphasis on building affordable housing in rural areas.

The new approach is part of the biggest shake-up in local government in North Yorkshire in nearly 50 years. The new county-wide authority will run as a single unitary council alongside City of York Council. A deal to hand over decision-making powers and tens of millions of pounds in funding to political leaders in York and North Yorkshire is currently being negotiated with the Government. An announcement on devolution is expected this summer, with public consultations later in the year.

Eighty five per cent of North Yorkshire's landscapes are classed as very rural or super-sparse, with population density five times below the national average at 76 people per square mile compared to the average in England of 430.