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Shropshire Council - killing our rural communities

November 13, 2017 7:16 PM


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.

  • All settlements should have at least 2 or 4 houses built which are affordable for local people in the nest 2 to 3 years.
  • Single plot housing should be adding to the housing stock and not be used to discriminate against people.
  • Housing Associations need to work with Parishes and a Council rural housing officers to deliver homes TO KEEP VILLAGES SUSTAINABLE.
  • The Parish plans should be given teeth so that parishes who have worked to understand their needs are able to have them delivered and not ignored by the system.
  • Housing in rural areas should reflect need for essential workers and local people NOT the wants of developers.
  • We now have a situation where the big towns have been over developed and the infrastructure has not kept pace. The schools are full to bursting and we are closing schools in the countryside. That is poor planning, poor vision and lack of joined up thinking. This needs to be spread out and not concentrated.