People in north Shropshire are at risk of ‘existing’ in homes instead of living in them because they are being built too small, it was claimed today.
Civic leaders in Wem, Whitchurch and Ellesmere have claimed developers are trying to build too many houses on small plots.
The calls come after plans for three homes in Bridgwater Street, Whitchurch, were thrown out by the North Shropshire Planning Committee because of concerns about the quality of living.
The two bedroom terrace houses near Tesco would have brought more than £21,000 into the town under a section 106 agreement if they had been built by Primesave Properties Ltd.
But councillors went against officers’ recommendations and threw out the plans, claiming they would be unsuitable for people to live in.
Speaking at the meeting at Edinburgh House in Wem on Tuesday, Councillor Gerald Dakin said: “I’m very concerned about the size of the houses.
“We need to move away from the two up, two down – or two up, one down – Victorian-style houses that were built years ago.”
Councillor Peggy Mullock, the mayor of Whitchurch, had requested that members of the committee went on a site visit to see where the proposals were for.
She said three houses were ‘far too many’ for the area because it is a ‘really small’ space.
Councillor Martin Bennett agreed, saying homes need to be built for people to enjoy, not just sleep in.
He said: “This would not be a place to live in, just somewhere to exist in.”
Today Pauline Dee, councillor for Wem, agreed. She said: “I’m always very concerned about the size of houses and they could be built too small for the quality of life.
“Everybody needs to have their own space and to be able to get away from noise.”
But Wem mayor Peter Broomhall said there was a need for both small and large houses as the smaller ones, for a lower price, mean people are able to get on the property ladder.
Alan Clarke, mayor of Ellesmere, said: “When plans come to us if the number seems too great for the area it is something we bring up and make it a condition.
“Part of our plan is to ensure there is a mix to facilitate all people.”
He added: “I don’t think the small houses are cramped. You can’t compare houses today to 50 years ago, there is a great need for housing.”