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November 22, 2017 5:23 PM
Originally published by Shropshire Liberal Democrats


Shropshire Affordable housing Campaigner Cllr Heather Kidd has condemned the Chancellor's housing measures as 'woefully inadequate' and 'urban-centric', doing next to nothing for rural areas like Shropshire.

Heather Kidd Shropshire Councillor for Chirbury and Worthen, said: "The Chancellor has very little grip on housing policy and none on the desperate need for affordable housing to buy and rent in rural areas like ours.

"Some of his ideas are fine for urban areas but he forgets the rural areas which are slowly dying - losing schools, shops, pubs etc.

"The key feature of his measures totally ignores the type of housing that is actually needed. It's no good forcing existing planning permissions to be built - too many are for luxury homes. We actually need to be building significant numbers of more affordable 2 or 3 bed family homes, semi detached and terraces which were once common in the countryside..

"Concentration on numbers of houses being built also doesn't help as too often builders want to build executive homes where they are not needed.

"That is the key for healthy small towns and villages. Balanced communities which provide for all age ranges will keep their schools, pubs and shops. Communities with strong social structures that can help with child care and help for the elderly

" We need a rigorous and sustained effort to provide suitable, affordable homes for our young people and homes for older people to downsize to. At the moment the planning system is in a mess across most or rural England with many council departments too timid or too understaffed to find ways to deliver for rural England"

Heather says that the Government needs to take three major iniatives to effectively address the lack of affordable homes in the countryside

  1. Housing needs for areas should reflect the type of housing needed to balance communities and keep them vibrant and key workers living where they are needed to work. Self-build schemes should be encouraged.
  1. Parish Councils views and their Parish plans should be given strength in the planning system to deliver what the community has deemed necessary.
  1. There is a serious shortage of constructions skills. We need help with rural construction apprentiships and upskilling rural building firms.


Notes: Heather Kidd was the co author of the South Shropshire Affordable Housing Scheme that was widely copied across the UK and forms (albeit in a watered down form) the basis of Shropshire Council's current policy