Housing need in Church Stretton
There is actually no shortage of available houses in Church Stretton – but only if one has enough money! The NUMBER of houses isn't the issue. Rather, the root problem is the lack of any sustainable mechanisms to buy, build or convert dwellings that will create the right homes in the right places, and at the right rent or mortgage costs. The principles upon which we are currently objecting to the Snatchfield Meadow and Gaerstone Farm housing developments are equally applicable to future indiscriminate development and are intended to safeguard the town and its landscape setting / environment as a whole.
Building open market homes is not required. Building upon the AONB’s greenfield land is neither necessary or acceptable. The Civic Society (and others) have demonstrated that delivering the necessary type and number of dwellings required (eg if, low volume, high design housing on brownfield land) can be achieved.
Shropshire Council should commit to working with a wide range of “stakeholders” (local residents, Town Council, climate and environmental groups, local businesses, AONB Board, National Trust, CPRE, Civic Society, residents’ associations and local housing association) to jointly develop a bespoke and sustainable planning strategy that:
properly values and appreciates Church Stretton' and its unique setting;
works for all Church Stretton's people and;
properly exercises the Council's primary duty of care for safeguarding and enhancing the environment and landscape of the AONB.
The future of Church Stretton lies not in ever-increasing land-grabs and expansion, nor in command-led, centralised policies from an under-pressure County Council.
“The evidence is that the market is not, and will not, build the housing we need”
“private sector developers are focussed on profit maximisation”
(both above quotes from Mark Barrow – Shropshire Council Director of Place, 7th November 2018, in his report“Meeting Housing Need In Shropshire”)
We are optimistic that a sustainable future, promoting a harmonious balance between both people and place, is a realistic ambition. With the necessary interventions in a dysfunctional housing system and with truly representative local input Church Stretton can thrive.