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New community marks £20 million of investment in rural homes

A housing group is about to celebrate the building of one of its newest communities and mark an investment of £20 million in affordable rural homes in Shropshire and Staffordshire over the last five years.

Housing Plus Group will join residents in Condover, Shropshire, tomorrow (Friday July 7) for a Big Lunch during Rural Housing Week to mark the completion of the development of much-needed new homes in the village.

Around £1 million has been spent on building ten homes in Brook Close to rent to local people, taking the five year investment total over the landmark figure for rural areas in the counties.

Severnside Housing, which is part of Housing Plus Group, working with Saxonby and Condover Parish Council, developed eight new houses and two bungalows on the land owned by Severnside. Part of the funding for the new homes was provided by the Homes and Communities Agency and Shropshire Council through a community-led housing grant.

There was also a steering group which helped shape the development which Victoria Williams, who now lives in Brook Close, joined. Read more about her new life in the village.

Her community is now looking forward to celebrating completion of the development with a Big Lunch – a national get together for neighbours to celebrate community, commonality and connections. Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski and Shropshire councillor Dan Morris will also be attending along with Sarah Boden, chief executive of Housing Plus Group.

“Severnside has worked really closely with the Steering Group, Condover Parish Council, local residents, Shropshire Council and Saxonby to successfully develop this site to build much needed affordable housing, specifically for local people,” said Sarah.

“Everyone who had helped realise this development should be rightly proud of themselves because it is now making a really positive difference.”

Last year Condover Parish Council won a Local Council Outstanding Project of the Year Award for the development. Parish councillor David Lane said: “When we consulted with residents about their priorities for our Parish Plan, affordable housing for local people was high on their list of concerns. This housing development delivers what residents were asking for: affordable homes within the village. This additional affordable housing will also help to sustain the school, the shops and local businesses. I congratulate all those involved with bringing this scheme into fruition. It’s been a great partnership effort and will benefit Condover for many years to come.”

Since 2012, Housing Plus Group has invested over £20 million in 186 rural homes in Shropshire and Staffordshire to help address the problem of lack of affordable homes in the countryside.

In south Staffordshire these have included a £2.8 million development of 15 houses and seven bungalows in Gravel Lane, Huntington, a £1.7 million development of 14 properties in Himley Lane, Swindon and the building of three bungalows for people aged over 55 in The Saplings, Kinver – the first affordable homes built in the village for over 15 years.

Schemes in neighbouring Shropshire include the £2.25m development of 21 houses in The Ashes, Morda, the £2.7m scheme to build 23 houses in Round Meadow, Wem and four homes in Red Abbey Lane, Alberbury.

Sarah Boden added: “In terms of housing developments £20 million over five years may not sound a lot but it represents a significant investment in rural areas because of the lack of suitable sites and planning restrictions.

“These homes are making a real difference by ensuring more people can afford to live in the countryside while improving the long term sustainability of these areas.”