Shropshire plans for thousands of homes ‘are not necessary’
Campaigners fear the Shropshire countryside will be swallowed up by housing to meet government targets.
Charles Green, the planning spokesman for the county branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, is calling for people to reject Shropshire Council’s housing ambitions.
The authority’s vision for housing was revealed in last week’s local plan update, which will go out for consultation at the start of next year.
It includes ambitions to build more than 8,000 homes over the next two decades.
The plan earmarks 70 potential sites and includes suggestions for a garden village on the edge of Bridgnorth, a need for 200 houses outside Oswestry, and thousands of extra homes in Shrewsbury.
- Bridgnorth garden village, Oswestry park and ride and 8,000 Shrewsbury homes: Shropshire Local Plan revealed
But Mr Green insisted that the homes are not wanted by the public.
He said: “These houses are “needed” only to fulfil the ambitions of Shropshire Council’s economic strategy and of the development sector; they are not necessary, nor are they wanted by the vast majority of local town and parish councils or the general Shropshire public.
“We continue to live in hope that Shropshire Council might eventually listen to what its electorate is trying to tell it.”
Mr Green said that national targets are dictating the decisions made over the county’s housing needs.
He said: “Shropshire Council is hamstrung to some extent by Government policy, but its ambition is well beyond the Government minimum requirement.”
Mr Green did however welcome an announcement that Shropshire Council would consider setting up a firm to build its own houses, although he said they must be aimed at the section of society that struggles to get on the ladder.
He said: “The un-affordability of housing is partly because councils stopped building council houses in the 1970s and 1980s.
“It is welcome news that Shropshire Council intends to build these again. It is affordable houses that are most needed, not the “market” houses that developers always favour.”
Mr Green added that the countryside could be under real threat from the pressure to build homes.
He said: "Shropshire Council’s plan is for there to be 25 per cent growth across the county by 2036. At that rate of growth the countryside will all be gone in under 200 years. Hopefully somebody in authority will wake up in time."