Rural areas set to take bulk of houses in future

By Steve Hayes 03/02 Updated: 15/02 10:19

RURAL areas will take the vast majority of 5,600 homes to be built in the district over the next 15 years - under a new development strategy.

Stratford District Council has published its draft Core Strategy - which outlines a long term strategy of 'dispersal' for home building in the district - and cabinet members are set to rubber stamp the document at a meeting on Monday (February 6).

If the preferred approach is agreed, a target of 5,600 homes would be built in the district between now and 2028 - with 90 per cent - 5,040 being built in rural areas.

Some 2,800 homes are targeted in villages and other rural areas, 1,680 are planned for main rural centres, like Shipston, Wellesbourne and Bidford, with a further 560 earmarked for rural brownfield sites.

It means Stratford itself would take just ten per cent, or 560 homes, during the period in view of a perceived over-development in the town in previous years.

It is the first time the council has been able to set its own long-term housing targets, which replace the previous Government-set targets.

If agreed at the meeting on Monday, the document would go out to public consultation for six weeks.

Council planning chief, Gill Roache, stressed the importance of people having their say.

She said: "Previously development has been loaded towards Stratford but it has seen enormous growth and we feel any more would change its character.

"This new approach of dispersal will see rural areas taking the majority of the housing.

"But we are well aware one size doesn't fit all and we will be consulting with parish councils and residents to find out how many homes should go where.

"It's very important people have their say because it is their district and they have a chance to shape it."

But the opposition Liberal Democrats said the strategy was in danger of pitting village against village and warned development was already in danger of over-taking the target.

Coun Peter Moorse warned: "Some 2,800 homes are due to go to the 39 'Local Service Villages' with no details of how they will be allocated.

"I'm afraid without proposals on the specific sites and with no guidelines, the final outcome may end up pitting village against village, as to who takes the developments.

"The Core Strategy is already being overtaken by events. The town of Stratford is suggested for 560 new houses. But, even putting Shottery to one side, developers already either have or are seeking planning permission for over 250 houses.

"At the speed at which the Conservatives are moving the next thing they'll have to do is introduce another building moratorium, as targets for 2028 could well be met before the Core Strategy is even in place."

Proposed housing targets for the district's rural towns and villages:

Alcester - 200-300

Bidford - 140-200

Henley - 90-130

Kineton - 60-90

Shipston - 140-220

Southam - 170-260

Studley - 160-240

Wellesbourne - 160-240

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