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WHEN Muir announced it would be building new affordable homes in the Shropshire village of Malpas, the Association knew it would be meeting a vital need in the rural community.

With a population of less than 1,700 people and just over 700 homes, Muir realised that new properties in the village’s Tilston area (pictured) would make a big difference to people and families living there.

Tilston properties One person who benefited was Joanna Grimke-Drayton. Originally from the village, she had moved away but jumped at the chance of a return to be closer to family, having previously thought the opportunity might be beyond her.

Now a proud owner of one of Muir’s shared ownership homes, Joanna (below) said: “It’s nice to be local to where I was brought up – I’ve come home really.

“It’s the best decision I ever made.

“What I like most about shared ownership is its affordability.

Joanna Grimke-Drayton“I never thought that I would own my own house but with Muir it was really straightforward and I’ve had nothing but help and support from them.”

The property website Rightmove shows that in 2017, privately-owned two and three-bedroom homes in that part of the village had been selling from £165,000 to more than £300,000 – beyond the pockets of many people who had grown up in the area.

Muir provided 14 newly-built homes for affordable rent, and a further four for shared ownership in May that year – giving people an affordable alternative to the rising prices.

Joanna Grinke-DraytonMuir’s Executive Director of Resources, Andrew Hunt said: “Stories like Joanna's show what a difference providing affordable housing in rural areas can make.

“The homes we built in Malpas ensured Joanna could come back to an area that holds so many memories for her, an area she loves, and a chance to be closer to family.

“Affordable rural housing can prove vital in keeping communities together.

“Our ongoing housing strategies in other parts of the country show how dedicated Muir is to making a positive difference to people and families in rural surroundings.”