THERE is anger and concern at a decision by Shropshire Housing Association to sell a bungalow

“I am really concerned about the Housing Association’s strategy in rural Shropshire,” said Nigel Hartin, Shropshire Councillor for Clun.

“Over the last couple of years, we have seen the Housing Association try to sell off houses in Lydham and St Catherine’s flats in Clun.

“The Housing Association have also seriously let down local residents in regard to the four properties at Amblecote, between Betws y Crwyn and Anchor, where they have decided to auction the properties despite apparently agreeing with the parish to sell to local people.

“They are now proposing to sell a two-bedroom bungalow in Weston Road in Bucknell rather than return it to the rental market.

“A number of local people have expressed interest in this small bungalow which recently became vacant due to the death of its elderly resident, however it now appears this will be another desperately needed small rural property which will be removed from housing stock.

“The issue here is twofold. First, we are desperately short of affordable housing for young families in rural areas. We need many more such properties not less. Second, we don’t see the housing association re-investing the money obtained by these sales in our communities.

“In Worthen, for example, eight properties were demolished in Old Mill Close and the land sold to developers. Despite promises, none of the profits have been re-invested in the community in the form of new homes.”

Mr Hartin says that there is a different approach in Shrewsbury and the North of the county to that being applied in rural south Shropshire.

“To add insult to injury the Housing Association is building new affordable homes in urban areas like Shrewsbury and Hereford whilst conducting a policy of denuding rural communities of their affordable homes,” he added.

“This can only end up forcing young families out of rural areas into the towns and to me it looks like a conscious decision by Connexus group to do this!”

One of the issues identified in Ludlow and south Shropshire is the impact upon house prices of more wealthy people moving to to area and so pricing local young people out of the market and forcing them to move away.