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Prees parish housing scheme update

The Right Home, Right Place housing needs survey of Prees Parish in November 2018 indicated that around two thirds of residents required affordable housing.

Needing to downsize into a more affordable home with a lower mortgage or rent, current property being too large or unsuitable for their physical needs, needing to accommodate a growing family or wanting to live closer to their place of employment were the primary reasons highlighted in the survey.

This data, combined with data from the HomePoint Housing Needs Register, led Prees Parish Council to proceed with an affordable rural housing scheme within the parish, which is now underway.

Prees Parish Council are now working closely with Shropshire Council and their chosen housing association, The Wrekin Housing Group, along with any interested members of the local community, to progress the next phases of the project.

Following the Project Board’s two initial meetings, two potential sites have been selected for further exploration, and The Wrekin Housing Group will progress this further following the next board meeting on 8th October.

Members of the Project Board will select an architect – or request more information from shortlisted candidates – after the next meeting.

Currently, both development sites have capacity for up to 30 affordable homes, but the total number of properties built will be determined both by the current HomePoint register, and the ‘hidden’ need from local parishioners that tends to emerge as new housing schemes progress.

Steve Swann, Development Manager at The Wrekin Housing Group, said: “We’re on track with the scheme at Prees and are making good progress so far. The Project Board have been active and engaged throughout the process, and we believe the scheme will be very positive for the local community.”

Ray Hirons, Chairman of Prees Parish Council, said: “Over the past few months we’ve been working with Right Home, Right Place to set up the project and we’re beginning to see our goal of providing affordable housing for Prees Parish coming to fruition.

“The Project Team has been formed with the help of Steve Swann, and we’re currently in the process of choosing architects, house designs and the location for the build. The Parish Council are very pleased with the progress being made and we’re confident for the future of this development.”

Affordable housing is in growing demand throughout Shropshire, as it is in many other parts of the UK, primarily due to the widening gap between the average household income and the average house price.

In Whitchurch town, the average house price is £180,000, while the average household income is £26,865, making a typical house price 6.7 times more than the average income.

In Prees specifically, the affordability ratio of 7 is even higher, and since mortgage multipliers are typically based on 4 times the household income, it’s currently very difficult, if not impossible, for local people to buy a home in their area.

Right Home, Right Place - a Shropshire Council-led initiative to help identify housing need across the county - have completed a number of surveys in various parishes, with five surveys currently live and a further 48 planned throughout 2019 and 2020.

1st October 2019