AMBITIONS for nearly 8,000 affordable homes to be built across the county have been revealed as part of Shropshire Council’s Local Plan review.

The authority wants to see 30,800 houses constructed by 2038 and says 25 per cent of these should be affordable, to help combat the growing disparity between average earnings and property prices.

Cabinet members will be presented with the latest version of the plan at a meeting on July 20, when they will be asked to agree to send it out to an eight-week public consultation.

They will also be asked to agree to Shropshire taking on 1,500 homes from the Association of Black Country Authorities in recognition of constraints in the region’s housing supply. This is in contrast with Shropshire which is forecasting to exceed its housing need of 25,890 by almost 5,000 properties.

Councillor Rob Macey, portfolio holder for housing and strategic planning, said the agreement reflected both the council’s desire to deliver more housing than the minimum “need” figure and the authority’s legal ‘Duty to Cooperate’.

The plan includes a recommendation from council officers that a proposed 1,050-home garden village to the west of Bridgnorth at Tasley be preferred for development over competing plans for a 850-home garden village on green belt land to the east of the town at Stanmore.

The document also sets out intentions for three ‘strategic sites’ for significant development at the former Ironbridge Power Station, Tern Hill Barracks and RAF Cosford.

Plans for up to 3,000 homes near Junction 3 of the M54 near Tong have not been included after council officers said the required “exceptional circumstances” to justify the release of green belt land could not be demonstrated.

In addition to identifying the sites where development will be focussed over the plan period, the 300-page document details a catalogue of new planning policies to shape future housing schemes, including requirements around climate change and design quality.

A key focus of the plan is the provision of affordable housing, with new developments in the south of the county to be required to include a 20 per cent affordable housing allocation whereas in the north the requirement will be 10 per cent.

Along with ‘exception schemes’ made up of 100 per cent affordable properties, it is hoped these targets will see 7,700 affordable homes built over the plan period.

Eddie West, interim planning and policy manager, said: “Affordable housing is a key issue in Shropshire which is why we are seeking to meet that local need.

“Our current proposal is a north and south split.

“That is not the only mechanism we are looking to deliver affordable housing. There will be exception schemes which are 100 per cent affordable and we will continue to be very supportive of those where there is a local need.”

Mr West said the overall 25 per cent target was a “realistic but challenging level” to achieve.

If agreed by cabinet, the plan will be subject to minor modifications arising from the eight-week consultation in time to be finalised by the full council in December. The plan will then be submitted to be examined by a government-appointed inspector in January 2021, with a view to it being adopted by late 2021 or early 2022.