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Shropshire's lack of affordable homes under scrutiny

By Jordan Reynolds | Politics | Published:

Concerns have been raised about Shropshire's lack of affordable homes.

The situation was outlined in a report given to Shropshire's full council meeting.

A lack of affordable housing in Shropshire is hampering local businesses' efforts to recruit, a council planning manager has said.

Steps are being considered by the council to force housing developers to provide more lower cost homes in the county rather than large detached houses.

The lack of affordable homes will affect Shropshire's economic growth, as people will move to live and work elsewhere, according to council officers.

Councillors spoke of their concerns when Councillor Robert Macey, portfolio holder for planning and housing development, presented his annual report for planning and housing development.

Councillor Pauline Dee said: "How are we going to be able to house our young people? As a council we could be sticking up for our residents, as a local community we should be able to say what housing we want.

"We need to be looking after our own young people and I want to know how we can do this going forward."

Councillor Andy Boddington highlighted funding for affordable homes not being used. He said: "The report shows that we now have £7.5 million in the pot for affordable housing, when are we going to spend this money?"

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Other councillor raised concerns about the type of housing being built in the county. Councillor Jane Mackenzie said she believes an accreditation scheme is being worked on for developers to built the type of houses people in Shropshire want.

Frustration

She said: "I held a meeting in Shrewsbury with the civic society in April because of the frustration in housing developments. More than 100 residents attended and we had to send people away.

"Amongst other issues we agreed that we needed a set of planning standards for developers."

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Councillor Hannah Fraser added: "We need open spaces that link together and support the wellbeing and health of our population, not just houses.This council is building a time bomb to promote obesity and loneliness, we need strong planning proposals that make places rather than houses."

Councillor Heather Kidd said young people cannot afford to live where they need to.

She said: "We're now in a situation where young people can't afford to live where they need to live. We can't afford to keep waiting for land to bid on, as with Grenfell Tower, they had the money but nowhere to build on."

Councillor Dean Carroll, deputy portfolio holder for housing, replied: "In terms of when are we going to build more affordable homes, I can't speak for the housing associations, although we do work closely with them and try to encourage them to build.

"I hope a housing plan will be ready in the next year, I hope it will be a lot sooner than that."

Councillor Robert Macey, portfolio holder for planning and housing development, said: "In terms of stronger policies, there will be an awful lot coming in the local plan review."

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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