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Heather Kidd

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Shropshire Council - killing our rural communities

November 13, 2017 7:16 PM

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Rural Shropshire has struggled against the odds to maintain its small market towns and villages. South west Shropshire in particular has a plethora of scattered villages and hamlets who have worked hard to keep pubs, shops and village schools alive.

Government policy and local planning policy supported housing being built which was both affordable to buy and to rent. Traditionally smaller housing was built, semi-detached 2 or 3 bed properties, terraces too. How often do we see that now?

Most rural areas have seen housing snapped up by older people moving into the countryside to retire. Some buy building plots and build large 4 bed properties which will never be in the price range of the young people who were born in our villages and frequently still live with parents in them.

What is this resulting in? Villages which are progressively aging and will have more and more people needing 'care ' in the future, a lack of younger people to deliver many of the services we need, teachers, nurses, carers and shop worker - to name but a few travelling into rural areas to provide the needs of rural communities. This costs the health service and Shropshire Council large amounts of cash!

It also means the loss of our village schools and then frequently followed by closure of the shop/post office and the pub.

This planning policy for our rural areas is divisive, negligent and short sighted. And it is and will cost us all dearly.

The planners will say that they must just stick by the rules. All rules can be interpreted differently. It really is time for Shropshire Council to open their minds, be innovative and start delivering for the vast swathes of rural areas across Shropshire. I know it can be done. We did it in South Shropshire District. I challenge the Conservatives to be innovative, save our rural communities and help save the Council some money in service delivery.

What is needed.