Shropshire Council Adopts Heather Kidd’s Affordable Housing Scheme

A pioneering Affordable Housing Policy, developed by South Shropshire District Council whilst under the leadership of Cllr Heather Kidd, was adopted for the whole of the County as official policy at the Council meeting on July 16th.
The policy aims to provide affordable homes to buy and rent across the County. The part of the policy which will be new to most of Shropshire is the single plot scheme, where local people can build their own affordable house on land they own or can buy locally. The policy ensures that these homes stay as affordable in perpetuity and only for other local people to buy.* There is now an emphasis on ‘exception site’ building in rural villages and on those where the housing will only be for local people. The real bonus of the scheme is that it will maximise the use of grant funding to build the housing but also allow people the possibility to build for themselves. This is not dependent on the tax payer for funding. The scheme has been widely copied by other Local Authorities and some National Parks across the UK. It is also the basis for the Welsh National Assembly’s affordable homes policy now Heather Kidd, one of the authors of the policy, was widely praised at the meeting for her contribution to the delivery of affordable housing. Cllr Malcolm Price, the portfolio holder for housing said “A lot of credit for this document goes to South Shropshire, in particular Heather Kidd who has worked hard to promote the scheme both regionally and nationally.”
The Council meeting also heard that flats will only be brought forward where they fit a very specific need. This is because they are difficult to let or sell and do not meet the needs of most Shropshire families. Credit must also go to the former officers of South Shropshire District Council for their hard pioneering work in making this policy a reality.
*If the owner then wishes to sell they have to consult the Council who will ensure that it is marketed at an affordable price.