Having the right home in the right place: the importance of a decent home right now is stronger than ever
“Our homes offer more than just a roof over our head, providing a place where we can hopefully feel safe and where we can give and receive support from our neighbours and be part of a wider community. For most of us a decent home is central to our wellbeing.”
The comment from Robert Macey, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing and strategic planning, follows Monday 18 January 2021’s approval by Cabinet of an ambitious five-year Housing Strategy for the county.
The Housing Strategy sets out the council’s vision for housing in Shropshire over the next five years. As well as an overarching vision, the strategy sets out a number of key objectives for future housing in the county. These include:
- addressing current and future housing need
- preventing homelessness
- providing a mix of housing options
- minimising the environmental impact of existing homes and future housing development to address climate change
- ensuring our housing supply attracts and retains the local workforce.
Robert Macey added:-
“The need for a decent home with adequate space has never been more important than at the current time, as many of us are spending more time at home, including continuation of home working for lots of us.
“Having the ‘right home in the right place’ is an aspiration for the majority of us, but this realisation is harder to achieve for some people. The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a decent home with sufficient space, together with highlighting the importance of communities. We recognise that that there are a multitude of reasons why this may be the case for some of our residents. Our aim is to address the barriers that prevent these residents from being able to access a suitable home.
“Therefore, temporary accommodation is a key part of the strategy. Everyone has different housing needs throughout their lives, and some people are not blessed with the support networks that others have, so it’s really important we can be here to support people who are facing homelessness and urgent housing needs.”
The council is working closely with developers, private landlords, communities and other participants in the sector to achieve the vision outlined in the strategy.
Wayne Gethings, Chair of the Shropshire Social Housing Forum, and Group Chief Executive at The Wrekin Housing Group, said:-
“We welcome the new strategy and the vision it sets to meet housing need across Shropshire. Having the right homes in the right place at affordable rents is critical for communities. Housing associations such as Wrekin, along with our partners in the forum and Shropshire Council, will need to work together to deliver on the new strategy. We also look forward to working in partnership with communities across Shropshire to deliver high quality and sustainable affordable housing.”
Jane Trethewey, Shropshire Council’s assistant director of homes and communities, said:-
“Shropshire Council is committed to growing and nurturing a healthy, functioning local housing market that provides high quality decent homes to support thriving Shropshire communities.
“Having an overarching vision to guide Shropshire’s housing objectives is important for maintaining thriving communities throughout the county. It’s not just about buildings, it’s also about climate change and protecting the environment, design elements to ensure homes are in keeping with their area, whether they’re geared for supporting Shropshire’s ageing population, how affordable they are for different types of residents, and how accessible they are for people travelling to work.
“The council could not have produced a Housing Strategy at a more appropriate time.”
The Housing Strategy will ensure there continues to be a supply of housing and housing services to meet the needs and aspirations of Shropshire’s current and future residents, and will support the county in meeting its vision for 2025.
To view the full strategy, click here.
Shropshire Council’s Housing Strategy – 6 key objectives:
- To meet the housing needs of particular groups within communities.
- To ensure people whose housing needs are not met through the local open market housing can access housing that meets their needs.
- Preventing households from becoming homeless, and where this is not possible ensuring they have safe, secure and appropriate accommodation until they are able to resettle.
- To ensure people can access a mix of housing options within Shropshire’s urban and rural landscape that best meets their needs in terms of tenure, safety, size, type, design and location of housing.
- To minimise the environmental impact of existing housing stock and future housing development in the interest of climate change. Maximise resource efficiencies and to ensure optimum use of sustainable construction techniques.
- Ensuring that there is enough housing supply to enable businesses to attract and retain the local workforce that they need.
An action plan will identify individual actions aligned to each objective and whose responsibility it will be to deliver, and over what time frame. Progress on the action plan will be reported annually to the Place Overview Committee.
Why we need this strategy
- The high cost of housing and slower pace of earnings within the county has resulted in the cost of home ownership rising beyond the means of many individuals and families.
- It is recognised that not all households will wish to be, or indeed have the means to be, homeowners. All households should equally be provided for with public and private sector opportunities, and that all households should also be able to live in a decent home.
- There are those residents both old and young who will require the assistance of the council to secure the right home for them, whether that is through supported and assisted living or through residential care. There is a determination that by working together with the public and private sectors there can be creative solutions to the challenges. This strategy provides a focus for those interested and involved in supporting and influencing initiatives that provide the right home for all Shropshire residents.
Delivering the vision
- Shropshire Council recognises geographic variations within the county and, consequently, will not adopt a one size fits all approach to delivering the strategy.
- Where people cannot afford to access homes through the open housing market, Shropshire Council is ambitious to work collaboratively with partners to find innovative solutions to removing affordability barriers and to growing the stock of affordable homes.
- Shropshire Council is dedicated to ensuring people on low incomes, encompassing some of the most vulnerable members of Shropshire society, live or have access to safe, secure, high quality housing in places where the need is. This means working effectively with social landlords and other service providers.
- The council recognises the vital role the housing sector plays in supporting local economic growth.
- The council is committed to ensuring the growing labour force has access to high quality homes in the right places to fully meet their health and wellbeing needs.
- The council is committed to ensuring future housing growth and improvements to existing housing stock are delivered in a manner sensitive to Shropshire’s environment and local communities.
- Shropshire Council is working collaboratively to ensure that reducing the impact of climate change and ensuring homes meet ‘decent home’ standards are at the forefront of achieving this vision.
- Shropshire Council is equipped with valuable tools, powers and innovative housing/planning professionals, including:-
- Planning policy and planning development management
- Economic growth,
- Adult social care and children’s services
- Housing Options tackling homelessness, adaptions, revitalising housing stock
- Estates and land ownership
- HomePoint, and the arms-length management organisation Shropshire Towns and Rural Housing
- Public / environmental protection
- The council’s housing company ‘Cornovii Developments Limited’.