Work gets underway on £4m community housing
Work on a new community-led rural housing development in Prees is underway. 27 energy-efficient homes are being built at Whitchurch Road – thanks to a partnership between local residents, The Wrekin Housing Group, Shropshire Council and Press Parish Council.
The development offers a mix of one, two and three-bedroom houses and bungalows that will be available for affordable rent and shared ownership. All of the new homes will be prioritised for those with a connection to the area, ensuring the much-needed affordable homes are available to local people. The £4m development is being built by Hawk Developments.
Shropshire has a shortage of affordable housing, due largely to the widening gap between average household incomes and average property prices throughout the county.
To help tackle this issue, Shropshire Council set up the Right Home, Right Place initiative, which runs surveys in each parish across Shropshire to identify and address the housing needs of its residents.
A project board made up of local residents and volunteers, members of Prees Parish Council, Shropshire Council and The Wrekin Housing Group, was created to oversee the project from start to finish.
Ian Henderson is a Prees resident and member of the project board.
He said: “There are number of people within our local community who are looking for homes – whether that’s for affordable rent or shared ownership. They don’t want to move away from the area and we want to keep them within our community.
“As a member of the local community, I’ve been involved every step of the way. Both The Wrekin Housing Group and Shropshire Council have listened to us and it’s fantastic to see the progress that’s been made so far.”
Charlotte Prince, Project Manager at The Wrekin Housing Group said:
“A tremendous amount of effort has gone into making this development a reality.
“I would like to thank all partners – particularly the local residents who have been involved in every stage of this project. This £4m investment and the addition of 27 new affordable high-quality homes will allow us to improve the range of properties available for local people and support the local economy.
“These homes are also energy-efficient, which will deliver cost-savings for our future residents.”
Cllr Raymond Hirons, Chair of Prees Parish Council said:
“It’s our aspiration to ensure that everyone in Prees has somewhere affordable to settle, live and call home.
“We know that there is a real shortage of affordable housing in this area, and our local residents have worked tirelessly with partners to ensure that people with a local connection will be given priority to move into these homes.
“Prees is a great place to live and we are pleased to be able to contribute towards the sustainability of our community.”
Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for Physical Infrastructure, added:
“We are committed to providing affordable homes for local people and families who would not otherwise be able to afford to live within their own communities.
“We look forward to welcoming the first residents in the future.”
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.
19th January 2022