15 DECEMBER 1944, Page 14

A MOST suggestive survey of a district in the Midlands

covering about seven parishes has been made by the agricultural economists of Oxford. The chief motive was the belief that planners will go wrong if they do not plan for the social side of rural life. Very many villages once ideal as social units (especially for their friendly variety) have become a little lop-sided owing chiefly to the disappearance of millers, tradesmen and, above all, craftsmen. The solution (so far as it can be boiled down) is the decentralisation of the lighter industries. Many of these have no need to be near the sources of raw material In this way, and by enlarging the smaller villages to suit, decaying villages could be re- vitalised and the essential virtues of the old village restored. The contrary idea—approved by many planners—of building industrial towns round the factories is rightly dismissed as "anti-social and artificial," and, it may be added, anti-English. Country Planning, a study of rural problems, is issued by the Oxford University Press at 75. 6d. The idea of the survey that it describes is new and admirable.