Shropshire Council recently announced its intention to build 28,750 homes in the county before 2036 as part of a review of the scale and distribution of development in its Local Plan.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has criticised the council’s plans, calling them unsustainable, and said the plans are “about the numbers and growth game and not about providing the houses that are really needed in the right places.”
Suzanne Tucker, an Associate in our Town and Country Planning department, examines the argument:
Proposals for large-scale development in a county like Shropshire are always going to provoke a strong reaction. In this case, the council has at least attempted to follow the Standard Method promoted by the Government for assessing how many new homes Shropshire needs in the coming years.
The problem is that the calculation, even using that prescribed Method, will under deliver on the number of homes that should be built in Shropshire. This is mainly because the formula used in the Standard Method to deliver affordable housing is based on average house prices being more than four times the average income.
But in Shropshire, house prices are in fact seven to 10 times the average income, so the situation is actually far worse than the remedy proposed by Shropshire Council.
The national method needs to be increased to address affordable housing for those who are not even on the housing ladder yet. On top of that, we need to provide sufficient housing to deliver a real change to those who are earning too little to raise the funds for housing.