Shropshire Council is seeking approval for a plan that will see an extra 10,000 homes built in the county by 2036.
The proposal states the preferred option is for a ‘high’ housing growth of 28,750 dwellings over a 20-year period (2016-36).
However, some of the homes may be built on green belt in the east of the county – this will be the subject to the outcome of a Green Belt Review to examine the potential of the area.
Speaking in response to Shropshire Council’s Preferred Options plan, Charles Green from Campaign to Protect Rural England, Shropshire, said: “To say that CPRE Shropshire is disappointed by Shropshire Council’s housing recommendations would be a gross understatement. We are concerned that its 20-year plans are about the numbers and growth game and not about providing the houses that are really needed in the right places.
“Contrary to common belief, we’re not against all housing development across the county. We are, however, mindful of the need to ensure that the county’s special qualities are protected and that the right types of housing are built in the right areas to support the varying needs of the county’s diverse population.
“Simply, housing growth for Shropshire over the period to 2036 of 28,750 new dwellings is unacceptable.
“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. While we strongly objected to even that figure, the fact that the majority view has been completely disregarded makes a mockery of the consultation process.
“There is a huge amount of debate around the methodology used to calculate housing need figures and CPRE Shropshire is clear that the approach employed by Shropshire Council remains highly questionable. The Government’s own newly published ‘objective’ approach to such calculations, while still being out for consultation itself, produces a housing target of 25,400 for Shropshire. But removal of a contentious ‘affordability ratio’, which the Government has slipped into these new figures, would reduce need to well below 20,000 dwellings. Simply, there is not the evidence to support the figure of 28,750.
“Shropshire is a county rich in natural beauty and tranquility and relentless growth of the sort outlined this week, is unsustainable and out of balance with natural resources.
“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.”
The plans will be presented to Cabinet tomorrow, Wednesday, and documents will be published on October 27 for a consultation period of eight weeks – closing on December 22.
See full story in the Whitchurch Herald