We need affordable housing in Shropshire but will lose out because of a government statistical trick

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.

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Plans for new bungalows and tree felling to go to planning committee next Tuesday

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.

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Plans submitted for 74 houses on Fishmore Road, Ludlow – but there is no provision for affordable housing

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.

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Shrewsbury Ark goes outreach to tackle rough sleeping but let’s not forget the hidden homeless

On a recent night, I was contacted on Facebook about a 16-year old sleeping rough on the streets of Shrewsbury. This young woman was vulnerable and needed safeguarding. I advised my Facebook contact to take the youngster to Shrewsbury Ark, a drop in centre for the homeless and vulnerable. Once there, she was re-engaged with the support network from Shropshire Council that had been trying to help her. She is now in a hostel and I hope that she gets the help she needs.

This youngster had dropped through the system. It is very hard to engage with council officials and family, and even with friends, when your life has plummeted into the crisis that is homeless. That’s why the help given by the Shrewsbury Ark is so important.

Now, the Shrewsbury Ark is going to do a lot more to help rough sleepers.

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