How Many Home Are Shropshire Council Actually Building?
You may have read reports that Shropshire Council want to build an additional 28,750 homes up till 2036. However, what you may not know is that this figure only covers building within certain towns and villages.
And in our case that is Church Stretton Town.
But any building that takes place in our Place Plan Area but outside of Church Stretton is simply not going to be counted. Data obtained via a Freedom of Information request shows that in the six years from 2013-2018 the actual number of dwellings created in the greater Church Stretton area was 213 (or 35.5 per year)!
If this rate of build continues till 2036 a further 710 homes will be built - but only the 210 to be built in Church Stretton will count toward Shropshire Council's target of 28,750. This means that potentially 410 additional homes will be built that will (in terms of official housing numbers) go unreported. And Church Stretton is not unique; in varying degrees this is happening all over Shropshire.
Unreported overbuild has been happening for some years. Take a look at the government's own data tables covering every county in England. Shropshire is recorded as having built 2518 homes per year, while the government target for Shropshire is only 1270 per year.
And the truly dispiriting thought is that while we are building more and more homes, and spoiling more and more of our landscape, we are still not addressing housing need!
It is quite clear - building open market homes is not required. It has not, and will not solve the housing problem and address Shropshire’s unmet housing need.
Shropshire Council does have a very important role to play. To address locally identified need, a Local Authority-led property development can target solutions where the open market has failed us. The question is: can it be far-sighted enough to do it?