Local communities will suffer under Government plans that will reduce the amount of affordable housing in the countryside, England's largest rural network has warned.

The Rural Services Network has called on ministers to abandon proposals which mean housing developments of less than 10 units would no longer have to include affordable homes.

RSN chief executive Graham Biggs MBE said: "The 10-home threshold would be nothing short of ruinous for the provision of affordable housing in rural areas."

Most rural developments are small - which mean they would be affected by the threshold proposal, said Mr Biggs.

The vast majority of developments are below the ten unit threshold - often because local communities looked on smaller housing schemes more favourably.

But Mr Biggs warned: "Without an obligation to provide any affordable homes, the supply of affordable housing will virtually dry up."

Mr Biggs made the comments in a letter sent from members of the Rural Services Network to communities minister Brandon Lewis.