Shropshire Star comment: Building for the future a priority
The housing crisis in Shropshire and Mid-Wales shows few signs of improving.
There is too much demand, too little supply and a lack of strategic planning to ameliorate a problem that has grown over recent decades.
While some brownfield sites have been made available and planners have also been able to enlarge our smaller villages and hamlets, the need for housing continues to grow at a quicker rate than the new supply. More must be done.
The lack of suitable housing and the prohibitive effects of high prices means our most valuable asset – youngsters – are being priced out of the market.
A brain drain sees key talent drift away from the region towards larger conurbations where housing is more plentiful and employment is also in greater supply.
The issue is nothing new. For more than a generation, Shropshire and Mid Wales have watched as people with the skills required to make a contribution to the area have moved away to pastures new.
The effect is to water down the talent pool and leave the region with an economy that is far less vibrant and productive than it might otherwise be.
The development of houses needs to be managed sensitively. Sites where there are concerns over flooding and pollution, the impact on landscape and local people's lives, must be carefully considered. And yet there must also be an understanding on the part of residents that they cannot have their cake and eat it.
Some will have to accept compromises. A “Nimby” attitude will not help to resolve the problem, and some people will have to stomach developments on their doorstep that contribute to the greater good.
There must be a willingness to tackle this issue lest another generation passes without tangible progress. We have lost a generation to this difficulty.
It is time to be proactive and do what is in the long-term interest of our region. Bringing people together for the common good is necessary in order to maintain a vibrant economy and keep our best people.