Shropshire Council's 29,000 homes plan unsustainable, says group
Plans to build nearly 29,000 extra homes in Shropshire over the next 19 years have been attacked by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which has branded them "unsustainable".
Charles Green, of the CPRE in Shropshire, said the planning proposals put forward by Shropshire Council this week made a mockery of a consultation which the authority conducted earlier this year.
The majority of people who responded to Shropshire Council's earlier consultation expressed a wish for "moderate" housing growth, which would have seen 26,250 homes built by 2036.
However, officers are recommending that the cabinet should endorse proposals for a total of 28,750 homes to be built when it meets on Wednesday next week. If the cabinet approves the proposals, they will then go out for further consultation.
Mr Green said the plan, which could also allow houses to be built on the green belt, risked damaging the county's rural character.
"To say that CPRE Shropshire is disappointed by Shropshire Council’s housing recommendations would be a gross understatement," he said.
"We are concerned that its plans are about the numbers and growth game and not about providing the houses that are really needed in the right places.
He said that contrary to common belief, the CPRE was not against new housing development in the county.
The organisation was, though, he said, mindful of the need to ensure that its special qualities were protected and that the right types of housing were built in the right areas to support the varying needs of a diverse population.
“Simply, housing growth for Shropshire over the period to 2036 of 28,750 new dwellings is unacceptable," he said, questioning the methodology the council had used to come up with the figure.
“When Shropshire Council consulted earlier in 2017 on the strategic options for the level and distribution of future development in the county, there was a clear preference for moderate growth which would have equated to 26,250 dwellings being built during the timeframe in question.
"Whilst we strongly objected to even that figure, the fact that the majority view has been completely disregarded makes a mockery of the consultation process."
The consultation on the latest proposals will run until December, and Mr Green urged people in the district to have their say.
“Shropshire is a county rich in natural beauty and tranquillity and relentless growth of the sort outlined this week, is unsustainable and out of balance with natural resources," Mr Green said. “It is our hope that the people of Shropshire will listen to our concerns and respond accordingly to the consultation period which runs until December of this year so that the eventual plans rolled out are more indicative of the wants and needs of local people.”