Shropshire is getting serious about building homes. That’s good news but we councillors will need to study the detail carefully. All developments should include affordable housing and all should meet the highest green standards.
The government has announced that it will allow local councils to borrow more £1 billion to build new council houses. Not a penny of this will be available to Shropshire.
This is yet another blow delivered by Westminster. Most housing developments in our county do not pay affordable housing contributions after ministers decreed that small developments should be exempt from the levee. Now it is using a statistical trick to bar us from accessing funds to build new council housing.
Shropshire needs 6,000 additional affordable houses to bring it up to the national average provision. That would all but wipe out the county’s housing waiting list. But rural areas like ours are not on the government’s radar.
I couldn’t attend the meeting of the South Planning Committee on 1 August. The committee considered three applications to build ten bungalows in Ludlow. Only one application for four bungalows was approved.
The agenda of the South Planning Committee next week is dominated by three Ludlow schemes for bungalows. They have been called in to committee by Tracey Huffer, who thinks they are sufficiently controversial for decisions to be made by elected representatives rather than officers.
All three schemes are promoted by the Shropshire Housing Group. Two of the schemes, for five social bungalows on Sidney Road and a market bungalow on Poyner Close are particularly controversial. Officers are recommending that all three schemes are approved by the committee.
Willsgrove Developments have submitted an outline application to build 74 houses on the former quarry site on Fishmore Road (16/03096/OUT). The plan is for a mix of homes and apartments. It is on the right lines for what we need on this site.
This site should be developed. It is suitable for a high density of housing, even though that will increase traffic along Fishmore Road. It is a sustainable location within walking distance of the town centre, though it lacks a nearby bus route.
If these plans are approved, there will be no affordable housing provided. The site plans also lack sufficient sustainable drainage and I am not happy with play area provision.