Why is the county getting two more empty homes every week? We need urgent action

There is a rule of thumb in housing. It is much easier to give permission to build new homes, most of them on green fields, than to bring empty homes back into use. Empty homes are a growing problem here in Shropshire where the number of homes empty for at least six months is increasing at the rate of two a month. We have a bigger proportion of our housing stock empty than England as a whole.

There were 4,460 empty homes in Shropshire last year, 1,654 of which had been vacant for more than six months. The waiting list for social housing stood at 5,227 households at the beginning of the year. One effective way of reducing that would be to take urgent action to bring more empty homes into use. But Shropshire Council seems to have given up on empty homes.

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Sidney Road bungalows – Shropshire Council backs dissenting officer’s case in evidence to planning appeal

Housing group Connexus is appealing against the South Planning Committee’s rejection of its plans for five bungalows on the green at the bottom of Charlton Rise. The committee refused the scheme twice. In its evidence to the planning inspectorate, council planners revealed that they were divided on whether the scheme should be recommended for approval. One officer wrote a dissenting report which said that the scheme should be refused because of the loss of the Norway Maple, the reduction in open space and poor design.

The South Planning Committee had no knowledge of this report when it rejected the application for the second time. But it said the plans must be refused because of the loss of the Norway Maple, the reduction in open space and poor design.

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What is the procedure for rough sleepers in Shropshire over the winter?

Rough sleeping is one of the big problems of modern society. There are a lot of reasons why people rough sleep, including difficulties with the benefits system and problems with housing. Very often rough sleepers have mental health problems, sometimes triggered by trauma as is often the case for ex-military rough sleepers.

Shropshire Council has good rough sleeper policies and offers accommodation all winter long. But not everyone wants to take this up and many refuse mental health support. This is where specialist workers like the Shrewsbury Ark can do a lot to help. But some cases prove to be difficult to resolve and people cannot be forced to take help.

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Housing development on Bromfield Road is set to create a polluted neighbourhood of poor doors

The principle of housing development between Bromfield Road and the A49 was approved at a public inquiry and cannot now be challenged. However, the details of the scheme are very much up for debate and negotiation. One of my main concerns about this 213-home development is its treatment of affordable housing. Thirteen of the 28 affordable homes planned are squeezed into triangle between the railway, Bromfield Road and the A49. These homes will be blighted by noise and pollution.

“Poor doors”, developments where social housing is distinctively different and with reduced access to amenity, have been common in major cities. It now seems that this practice, which the prime minister Theresa May has said should be outlawed looks set to spread to Ludlow.

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Highways disputes and mediocre plans for trees delay progress on 340 Ludlow homes

Delays continue in getting final planning approval for the housing developments at Foldgate Lane and Bromfield Road. Trees and highways are the main issues. Network Rail has also warned about the potential for a future increase in noise from trains affecting the Bromfield Road site.  

Delays are not unusual in planning matters though approval Foldgate Lane, which has received a third “stop notice” from Highways England, is rather dragging on.

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