THE housing downturn is threatening plans to increase the number of affordable rural homes, says Adam Symons, Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesperson for Torridge and West Devon.In 2006, the Government committed to a long term target of building three million affordable homes by 2020, many of them in the countryside, he said. But the Rural Services Network had reported that as more house builders had stopped building, the supply of affordable properties may be slowing. Mr Symons met this week with Ian Byworthy, the head of Shelter for Devon, the national housing and homelessness advice charity, to find out the impact that lack of affordable homes is having in Torridge and West Devon. He said: "Affordable housing is the number one concern among residents. Shelter said that housing needs in Torridge and West Devon are still acute, and building new affordable homes is the major way of relieving the pressure. The housing downturn is threatening plans to increase the number of affordable rural homes in the area. Less private builders are entering the market and, therefore, it is up to local authorities and housing associations to bridge the gap.