Church Stretton Housing Needs

Church Stretton Housing Needs Survey 2022

“Alongside protecting and enhancing our wonderful landscape and environment, sits the equally important responsibility to monitor and maintain the vibrancy of our community as part of the living and working environment of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

And housing for our community, especially the provision of suitable, sustainable and truly affordable homes for local people is perhaps one of the single most important issues to be addressed”

Cllr Graham Lewis, Church Stretton Town Council Strategy Committee

As a caring community we have an obligation to ask ourselves the following questions:

  • What housing do we actually need?
  • What number and type of housing are necessary?
  • How can we address any housing requirements whilst still maintaining our firm commitment to the protecting and enhancing of our nationally protected landscape status?

Help us understand what housing is needed  

To answer these questions the Town Council has commissioned Arc4, a leading data and research company to undertake a detailed Housing Needs Survey on our behalf. This survey will gather the views of our residents about Church Stretton housing and will also seek to establish both the extent and nature of any affordable housing need; especially that which is unlikely to be satisfied by the provision of “open-market” housing.

About the survey itself

The survey will take approximately ten minutes to complete and is for everyone, whether or not you are looking for affordable housing. There will be three versions of the survey: for householder; for young people; and for businesses. People who have moved away from Church Stretton but who wish to live here will also be welcome to participate – please contact the town council offices to do so.

Why another housing needs survey? 

I am aware that there will be those amongst you who will quite rightly be saying: didn’t we complete a housing needs survey in 2019? Unfortunately, the previous survey did not gather sufficient data for us to use as evidence to inform local planning policy. We are currently engaging successfully with Shropshire Council over its emerging Local Plan -a hugely important blueprint which sets out where housing and business land will be located throughout Shropshire until 2038. We want to ensure that the unique setting of Church Stretton is acknowledged and respected in their plans.

Your input is essential 

This new survey will be your opportunity to input into the strategic plan for our town. By expressing your views and opinions you can help provide valuable insight into the housing needs of our community, both now and for the future. We hope as many households, young people and business owners as possible will complete the surveys. The more people that contribute to the surveys the more valuable it’s data and information will be in helping to shape our communities.

Your privacy

The survey data will be analysed independently by Arc4 and the results will be made available to all. All information will be kept completely confidential and no personal information will be shared with the Town Council, Local Authority or any other third party.

Church Stretton Neighbourhood Plan

After discussion with the Community-Led Plan (CLP) Steering Group – Church Stretton Town Council intends to drive forward the strategic planning for the town by expanding the CLP into a formal Neighbourhood Plan.

Over the three years since the original household survey was completed much has changed – the Covid pandemic and its continuing effects, the publication of the Shropshire Local Plan and the cost of living crisis – and the key question facing the CSTC was how best to capture all the hard work put into the CLP and to update it to reflect the world we now face. The CLP Steering Group has accepted the wish of the Town Council to re-frame the plan. The joint conclusion reached was that we should use the work completed for the CLP – the evidence, the ideas, and the planned actions – as a foundation to allow a Neighbourhood Plan to be completed quickly, using the CLP work as a springboard.

Another key advantage, for the Town Council, is that having a formal Neighbourhood Plan will increase the rate of Community Infrastructure Levy payable by Shropshire Council from 15% to 25%, which last year would have generated an additional £22,000. That equates to approximately 5% of our annual budget.

In reaching this conclusion the two groups recognised that, because of the delay created by Covid, many of the central recommendations in the CLP are necessarily already being progressed. These include: prioritisation and planning action in support of the countryside, the housing needs survey , promotion of community facilities and services, including Health and Social Care, the establishment of an Arts Forum, and support for local businesses . Consequently, we need to recognise and capture these wins and identify the next set of priorities.

The next step is to put the formal proposal to the Town Council together with a detailed understanding of how a Neighbourhood Plan will be delivered, and this will happen on 28th June 2022.