Moves to address shortage of housing in rural areas
Housing opportunities for people living in rural parts of Shropshire could soon be improved, under Shropshire Council plans to address the chronic shortage of housing in many rural areas.
At its meeting on 25 July 2012, the council’s Cabinet is set to agree that an application is made to the Secretary of State to place restrictions on the resale of right to buy (RTB) houses in nearly 200 parishes.
These restrictions would enable the council to impose a condition that, when a right to buy house is put up for sale in one of these parishes, at least one of the people to which the property is to be sold should have either worked or lived within that area for the preceding three years,
This would provide more opportunities for people who already live or work in those areas to remain there.
Introduced in 1980, the right to buy scheme gives qualifying social housing tenants in England the right to buy their home at a discount. The Government increased the maximum discount for eligible residents from £26,000 to £75,000 from 2 April 2012. It is anticipated that overall sales of right to buy houses will rise as a result.
Restrictions on the re-sale of right to buy properties are already in place in the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and have been used to good effect in those areas. The proposal is to extend these restrictions to other rural areas in Shropshire.
Councillor Mal Price, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing, said:
“There are many rural parishes within Shropshire where there are limited housing opportunities.
“Through restricting the resale of right to buy dwellings to people residing or living locally, this means that local housing opportunity will be increased.
“If we don’t apply for restrictions on the re-sale of RTB properties, this would mean that there are no restrictions as to who the dwelling could be sold on to, which would therefore reduce housing opportunities for local people.”
Shropshire Council is proposing to apply for rural resale restrictions for all Shropshire parishes which are eligible for restrictions to be applied under the 1985 Housing Act based on rurality.
This applies to Shropshire Council tenants and tenants of South Shropshire Housing Association, Meres and Mosses Housing Association and Severnside Housing Association.
This means that Shropshire Council would be applying for restrictions in all parishes with the exception of Albrighton; Bayston Hill; Bridgnorth; Broseley; Ellesmere Urban; Highley; Ludlow; Market Drayton; Oswestry; Shifnal; Shrewsbury; Wem and Whitchurch Parishes.
In Shropshire, council tenants are eligible for incrementally increasing discounts on the purchase price of their properties after being a tenant for five years.
Tenants whose properties are managed by South Shropshire Housing Association, Meres and Mosses Housing Association and Severnside Housing Association, but had been tenants at the time of transfer, are also eligible for right to buy discounts (known as Preserved Right To Buy).