High quality homes needed, says minister in visit to Telford
Councils and Government must work together to ensure developers provide high quality homes, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said.
During a trip to Telford, the former Shifnal resident said he was using the gap between the two areas as a blueprint to ensure communities avoid merging through over development.
He was speaking during a visit to Lightmoor Village, near Horsehay, where he was shown around the development.
"I grew up in Shifnal so I've watched the town develop and prosper," he said. "I'm glad to come back now as Secretary of State for Housing and this site seems very high quality. It's one of the most attractive housing sites I've seen in my time as Secretary of State.
"This is the standard of housing we want to see across the country, but certainly in a very fast growing community like Telford. They need to be the right quality, in the right places and with the services and infrastructure at the same time so you can maintain the confidence of the community."
Mr Jenrick said there were areas of Telford where there had been challenges with maintaining quality.
"We need to build far more homes," he said. "We've set a target of 300,000 new homes every year. However, if you want to keep on building home at that pace you have to maintain public support and that means that services and infrastructure flow with the homes. It also means having good quality properties which are not small, which have the parking they need, homes that will really last.
"In a fast growing community like Telford that is an issue. Telford's MP Lucy Allan has told me about some of the challenges that we've seen in other parts of the town, in Lawley for example, where there's too much traffic on the road.
"That's a challenge that the council has to tackle and we as a government need to support."
He said national programs were being put in place to provide infrastructure including roads, schools and GP surgeries to make sure they were all built at the same time as homes.
Mr Jenrick said the focus going forward would be on brownfield sites, rather than greenfields site.
His comments come amid controversial plans to build on Shropshire greenland to provide spillover homes for the Black Country.
Hundreds of homes and industrial buildings could be built off the M54 as parts of the plans, completely transforming areas around Shifnal and Tong.
"I am aware of these challenges and have spoken with neighbouring councils such as Wolverhampton and West Midlands mayor Andy Street," Mr Jenrick said. "We've struck a housing deal with the West Midlands Combined Authority which provides them with money to unlock sites including brownfield sites in places like the black country that have needed remediation for some time.
"I hope that will be part of the answer in ensuring that homes are being built in those places and that the burden doesn't fall exclusively on south Staffordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire."