CPRE casts doubt on Council's housing targets

The Shropshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) will today (Wednesday May 2nd) demand that Shropshire Council clearly explains its calculations around employment land requirements which CPRE has deemed misleading. 

Ahead of a question being posed to Shropshire Council’s Cabinet meeting taking place today, Charles Green, Spokesperson for CPRE Shropshire, commented:

“We demonstrated our opposition to Shropshire Council’s proposed Local Plan when it was first published in October 2017.  We subsequently submitted a thorough and detailed response, extending to 66 pages, as part of the consultation process at the end of last year.

“The council, however, has seemingly ignored our fundamental query which calls in to question the maths behind its employment land requirements and this gets no mention in its Consultation Response Summary which was published ahead of today’s Cabinet meeting.

“It is our belief that unrealistic and undeliverable employment targets are being used by Shropshire Council to justify similarly unrealistic and undeliverable housing targets.  Aside from Shropshire Council and housing developers, the opposition to the currently proposed level of development across the county in the period to 2036 is significant and certainly not backed up by any robust data.

“The high targets are well beyond the demographic need of the county; are beyond even what the Government requires; and they certainly do not guarantee that enough affordable houses or homes for the elderly will be built.”

Having analysed the outputs of Shropshire Council’s first consultation from early 2017, CPRE Shropshire argues that whilst the council claims a good level of support for high levels of housing growth, that support is derived mainly from landowners, developers and agents all of whom have a vested interest in development.

If the views of the local electorate are instead analysed, the opposition to high growth is clear.  Groups representing the electorate account for 65% of the total consultation responses and of these, six times as many stated a preference for lower growth options, rather than higher options.

Moreover, in its Consultation Response Summary on the Preferred Scale and Distribution of Development, Shropshire Council presents a mismatch of data that calls in to question the whole concept of balanced growth.  Charles Green concludes:

“In electing for the “High Growth” option as their preferred option, not only has Shropshire Council deliberately ignored the clear majority view of those for whom the consultation was intended, but it has gone on to justify the perceived economic growth that would require this level of housing with inconsistent data sources. 

“It is absolutely time for Shropshire Council to be called to account for its dubious use of data and to stop pushing ahead with its plans to the blatant disregard of the local population.”

Further information on CPRE Shropshire can be found at: https://www.cpreshropshire.org.uk/