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Shropshire developers challenged after research shows one in 10 homes built on green belt are 'affordable'

By Rory Smith | Telford | Property | Published:

Campaigners in Shropshire have challenged developers after new research shows just one in 10 homes built on green belt land in the last decade are “affordable”.

A study into green belt and brownfield sites conducted by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) published this month revealed just 13 per cent of homes built on greenfield land removed from the green belt designation in local plans in the last 10 years are “affordable”.

Members from Shifnal Matters and Save Bridgnorth Greenbelt Group (SBGG) are now questioning the number of “affordable” homes proposed in large-scale development plans in their own towns.

John Moore, Shifnal Matters committee member, said: “The CPRE report on affordable housing is certainly reflected in the recent developments around Shifnal.

“This ‘affordable’ homes phrase has been misused by developers and planners alike without delivery of a meaningful portion of low-cost housing.

“In some cases estates of hundreds of homes have had just a handful of the poorest plots offered at around £20,000 discount.

“In other cases shared ownership has been interpreted as ‘affordable’ even though the resident has to pay both a mortgage and rent.”

Shifnal is subject to a big expansion of 1,500 homes and a 40-hectare business site on green belt land as proposed by Shropshire Council in its Local Plan Review.

In neighbouring Tong, Bradford Estates is planning to build 3,000 homes and 50 hectares of employment land on a greenbelt site off junction three of the M54.

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The housing company said the number of affordable homes has not yet been decided.

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A spokesperson said: “Proposals are at an early stage of consultation so precise numbers cannot yet be specified, particularly since the expectations of the emerging new Local Plan are still to be confirmed.

“A central part of Bradford Estates’ vision is to develop affordable homes local people will benefit from.”

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Meanwhile in Bridgnorth, Stanmore is subject to 850 homes and a large section of business land up until 2036 and 650 more homes post 2036.

Darren Hodson, of SBGG, said: “If only one in 10 homes were affordable then local need for affordable homes is unlikely be met over the next 30 years.

“The town of Bridgnorth has only 6,200 dwellings as of 2019, the vast majority of these new proposed houses would not be for local need.”

Pushing the plans, Stanmore Consortium, made up of Apley Estate, Stanmore Properties and other local landowners, said: “The number of affordable properties at Stanmore would comply with Shropshire Council’s requirements and this would be included in a future planning application which would be prepared after the Local Plan is adopted.

“We are committed to providing for a mix of good quality, sustainable housing of the right size, type, tenure and affordability to meet local needs.”

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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