PLANS for affordable homes for rent on the site of Ludlow’s old tax office on Riddings Road have been given the go-ahead.

It is claimed that the scheme for 12 homes will generate 28 jobs and inject almost £4 million into the local economy.

The Wrekin Housing Trust is preparing to bring its first development of affordable homes to the town, following a consultation event for residents held last year and planning permission recently being granted.

According to the trust Ludlow has a severe shortage of affordable housing and only a third of households are in a position to buy a home at today’s prices.

Population figures for Ludlow show that it is growing at a higher rate than across Shropshire, so it is hoped this development will go some way to ensuring local families and young people are not priced out of the area.

The trust also generates one full-time apprenticeship opportunity for every £1 million spent on new homes and creates 2.3 jobs per affordable home built, benefitting the wider community and stimulating local business in the area as well as benefitting those that move into the properties.

Demolition will start shortly to allow work to begin on eight two-bedroom houses and four one-bedroom apartments. The new homes will be complete during 2015.

The trust works closely with Shropshire Council to identify local people needing new homes, and once ready, the homes will be let through Shropshire Council’s Homepoint.

“We’re really excited about this new development in Ludlow and are looking forward to starting work on site this summer,” said Sarah Flaherty, project manager for the trust’s development team.

“The homes we build are modern, energy-efficient, spacious and built to last. We look forward to working in the area, providing affordable homes for local people.”

Shortage of affordable housing in Ludlow and the surrounding area has been a major concern for a number of groups.

Churches Together Around Ludlow, the ecumenical group, has expressed concerns about the lack of housing especially for young people. They say that much of an increase in the house building sector involves private housing that is not affordable for most people.

Ludlow Rotary Club also had a major initiative in 2013 to raise awareness of the problems of homelessness that also raised nearly £30,000 for homeless charities.

It has been claimed that young people and families are being driven out of the area because of the shortage of homes that can be afforded. House prices especially in areas like Ludlow town centre have been inflated by people moving into the area by newcomers from affluent areas such as the south east of England.

Ludlow Town Council has also in the past expressed concerns about housing shortages.

Current planning rules mean that a small proportion of the homes in any new development have to be designated as affordable which involves being available for rent or some form of shared ownership.