More housing in Much Wenlock?

Much WenlockThe Shropshire Local Plan currently comprises the Core Strategy (adopted 2011) and the Site Allocations and Management of Development (SAMDev) Plan (adopted 2015), together with the adopted Neighbourhood Plans for Much Wenlock and Shifnal. These documents set out proposals for the use of land and policies to guide future development in order to help to deliver the sustainable growth in Shropshire for the period up to 2026.

Local Planning Authorities are required to keep under review any matters that may affect the development of its area or the planning of its development. There is a requirement to objectively assess the development needs of the County and this also permits a longer term view to be taken for the period to 2036. To meet the requirements of national policy, the Local Plan needs to identify enough land to provide for future housing and employment to reflect Shropshire’s future needs.

All of this (and much more) may be found on Shropshire Council’s website in Planning Policy. This process is now at the stage of consultation on issues and strategic options. This includes a “call for sites” which is a request to private, public, and voluntary sector bodies and individuals to submit potential development sites for consideration within the Strategic Land Availability Assessment (SLAA). The SLAA represents a key component of the evidence base which will support the partial review of the Local Plan. However, whilst the SLAA is an important technical document, it does not allocate land for development or include all locations where future housing growth might occur. The SLAA simply provides information which will be investigated further through the plan-making process.

MWNP logo col

Consideration is being given to a review of the Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan. The Assessor, in his report in January 2014, recommended “a modification that the Plan is reviewed after a three year rather than a five year period. That review should focus on housing delivery and will be able to assess progress on the granting of planning permissions and/or the delivery of housing in the Plan area. If necessary the review of the Plan will be the trigger either for the modification of some of its policies and/or the allocation of a suitable urban extension site that itself meets the basic conditions.”

The structure and policies of the Neighbourhood Plan have proved resilient over time. Major changes were not being envisaged by the monitoring group established under the previous Town Council as inevitable. They did, however, recognise that careful minor modifications might need to be considered to ensure consistency with Shropshire Council and national policies and potentially to enable Neighbourhood Plan policies to be carried forward beyond 2026. After careful consideration it was concluded that, through continued close liaison with Shropshire Council Officers, such minor modifications could almost certainly be achieved without requiring a major new public consultation

This is all background. At the Much Wenlock Town Council meeting at the beginning of July the Town Clerk announced that “a letter had been received from Berry’s on behalf of Wenlock Estates which advised that land adjoining the primary school at Hunters Gate had been put forward for development of approximately 90 dwellings in response to Shropshire Council’s ‘Call for Sites’ & Local Plan Review. The letter offered the Town Council an opportunity to discuss the plans in more detail and the Town Clerk recommended that a meeting should be arranged.”

The meeting with Berrys was arranged for the Town Council’s Planning Committee on 5th September. Four of the five members of the Planning Committee along with a further three Town Councillors and over twenty members of the public were in the Council Chamber at 9:30am. Seated next to the Committee Chairman, Cllr Mary Hill and the Town Clerk were Stuart Thomas from Berrys and Gavin Loynes from Bruton Knowles.

After the formalities were over, Cllr Hill asked Stuart Thomas to speak on the proposal. He said that the proposals was in response to Shropshire Council’s “call for sites” in March, and emphasised that this is not a planning application. He anticipated that at the end of this stage of the Local Plan Review, Shropshire Council would publish its “preferred site options” whereupon there would be public consultation. There were a number of questions and statements (and these are my notes, not verbatim) from members of the Committee as follows:

Q:  What numbers are proposed and would they all be open market housing or would there be some element of affordable housing? A:  The proposal would included affordable housing and open space.
Q: The proposal is outside of the development boundary confirmed by the Neighbourhood Plan. The housing growth set out in the Neighbourhood Plan is on target and, on the basis of current projections, will remain so until 2026. Is this proposal only going to be implemented after 2026? A: This depends upon the outcome of the Shropshire Council consultation. The Local Plan Review rolls the plan forward to 2036. How Shropshire Council chooses to phase housing growth across the county is not a matter for Berrys. The phasing will be dependent on the target for housing growth. The review of the Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan needs to remain compliant with Shropshire Council’s policies.
Q: Is not the “call for sites” for post-2026? A: It is unusual that a Local Planning Authority is undertaking a review so early in the life of its Local Plan. The Review should be complete by late 2018/early 2019.
Q: Is it not the case that Shropshire Council is under pressure from the government to deliver more housing faster? Hence the greater housing density level of this site vs. Hunter Gate… A: Agreed
Q: There is no recognition of this high risk flood catchment in the proposal – one of only two in Shropshire. We assume there will be a really good flood alleviation scheme to protect Farley from flooding. A: The site would aim to mirror greenfield drainage.
Q: Given the scale of the development, is there any chance of amenities being incorporated, such as a doctors’ surgery? A: To a large extent this is a blank canvas. If Shropshire Council included the site in its preferred options, there would be further discussion about this and similar uses. The Community Infrastructure Level attracted to the community would be significant.

Cllr Hill then thanked Stuart Thomas and he left with Gavin Loynes.

She drew this agenda item to a close by saying that the Town Council would have to seek clarification from Shropshire Council as to the relationship of the Neighbourhood Plan to the Local Plan Review and as to whether further site allocations were for early development or for a period post-2026. She concluded by saying that there was no doubt that this site would be developed, what is not known is simply when it will be built.

This response to Shropshire Council’s “call for sites” is clearly one that will give cause for concern to immediate neighbours – people prefer certainty – and, despite the near-completion of flood attenuation ponds, folk living downstream of the town. It is, however, no surprise that Wenlock Estates are keen to see this land developed. They have made no secret of their view that this will satisfy housing demand and maintain the town’s economic viability.

I am keen that there should be transparency throughout this process. I will therefore write here and in the Wenlock Herald about further developments as they occur. Read the rest of this entry »

Swan & Falcon Inn – soon to be The Huntsman and the Whipper Inn?

The site next to the former Swan & Falcon Inn, more recently Barclays Bank, was the scene of a well-behaved demonstration in February 2010. The developer of the Falcons Court houses had partially constructed a house fronting the High Street, faced with unapproved bricks and larger than the planning consent granted. The Shropshire Star reported that, after visiting Much Wenlock, the Shropshire Council planning committee “…later voted at the meeting to refuse a revised planning application for the home and they further agreed to enforce an order to demolish the partially built property.”
Fullscreen capture 01-Sep-17 60805 PM

Fullscreen capture 01-Sep-17 60704 PM

Shropshire Star 4th February 2010

Shropshire Star 4th February 2010

The Planning Inspector who later heard an appeal against the refusal said that the proposed dwelling would “fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the Much Wenlock Conservation Area…” and went on to say the it “failed to comply with Section 3 of the Much Wenlock Design Statement…”. The appeal was dismissed, and the incomplete building was subsequently demolished. The site changed hands and came into the ownership of Bridgnorth businessman Richard Beaman, who had previously purchased the former Barclays Bank premises which, at one time, had been the Swan & Falcon Inn.

A premises licence for the sale of alcohol was granted and subsequently a planning application was made for an ambitious development of the joint site. After considerable resistance from local objectors and some delay, a revised application was submitted. This was approved about a week ago, along with the associated listed building application. Learning this news, I harboured a hope that work would start fairly soon to tidy up what has been an eyesore for many years. I was therefore delighted to see two chaps working this morning dismantling the brick wall in the walkway between Falcons Court car park at the High Street. It’s only a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction!

The wall comes done!

The last piece of brick wall is demolished, revealing the stone boundary wall of 16 High Street

The planning consent (17/01996/FUL) comes with a number of conditions covering access, construction method statement, tree planting scheme, Arboricultural Method Statement and Tree Protection Plan, and wide-ranging ones governing the extent and hours of use of the external areas. Shropshire Council’s website provides the detail.

 

 

Litter pick in Much Wenlock

Today saw a resumption of our regular litter pick sessions around Much Wenlock after a summer break. I think we had a record turn-out, which is gratifying.

The Square, Much Wenlock

Ten community volunteers assemble before the litter pick session

Volunteers equipped with bags and grab sticks headed off in different directions at 10am, returning two hours later with bags full of rubbish of all kinds. Unusually, the Shropshire Council truck was waiting for us – it usually turns up a couple of hours after we’ve finished. This denied us the usual opportunity to photograph the mound of bags but did mean we got a picture of the willing and happy driver!

Shropshire Council collects the bags full of litter

Shropshire Council collects the bags full of litter

The next litter pick will be held at 10:00am on Friday 6th October – it’s always the first Friday of the month. All are welcome – meet in The Square in Much Wenlock. Further details are available from me or from Julian Walker 01952 728082 or walkerhousehold@hotmail.com. We’re very willing to have a blitz on other areas outside the town – if you know of any litter black spots, please let us know.

Pinefield – 40 High Street, Much Wenlock

I last wrote about this property in March of this year when a planning application and a listed building application had been submitted simultaneously. The planning application is described as “Erection of one dwelling with garage; repair to outbuilding; erection of one pair of semi-detached dwellings with attached 3-bay garage” – so, three dwellings proposed on the back land.

The listed building application, dealing with an important Regency building within the Much Wenlock conservation area, is entitled “Repair and renewal of roof coverings, rainwater goods, rendering, doors and windows; internal alterations”. This was granted by planning officers under delegated powers, on 23rd August.

Pinefield

Pinefield, 40 High Street Much Wenlock – August 2017

In detail, the proposed works include include “the replacement, like for like, of the broken and defective front and rear bowed windows and side elevation bay; new glazed timber internal doors to match existing between the living room and garden room; new main staircase to match existing; lower section of secondary stair to be replicated; subdivision of a room to create a cloak room and wash room; unblocking of two small windows on the rear elevation; unblocking a recess and the sealing of a door on the side elevation of the rear wing. A small lean-to structure at the rear of the building would be removed. At first floor level the front windows would be removed; some new partitions installed to create an ensuite bathroom and ensuite shower room, and a doorway sealed to create an independent bathroom. Defective first floor areas would be renewed on a like for like basis. The roof would be the subject of extensive works to renew and repair defective elements on a like for like basis (Clay tiles and lead flashings etc).”

The Conservation Officer has advised the proposed repair works outlined in the application are considered to be appropriate and necessary to bring this important listed building back into habitable residential accommodation and secure it for future generations.

Concerns have been expressed, including by the Town Council and Much Wenlock Civic Society, that there should be some formal link between any benefit to be derived from the planning application for the back land and the cost of carrying out the works on the host property. This I fully support, and I am encouraged to see that the planning officer says that “the ‘enabling development’ and a tie in to planning application 17/00998/FUL, are matters for consideration in the assessment of that planning application. They are not grounds to delay the consideration of this listed building application which relates solely to works to the listed building itself….”

Where do we go from here? Whilst the planning application has yet to be decided – and I have requested that this be dealt with by Shropshire Council’s South Planning Committee – there is no reason in principle why the refurbishment works to Pinefield cannot be commenced immediately. The Section 215 notice has run its course, so Shropshire Council is presumably in a position to flex its muscles to ensure that the work gets underway. Realistically, the listed building  and Section 215 works will cost a lot of money. I recognise that the applicants will want some assurance that their planning application for three dwellings will be approved. For this reason I am pressing the planning officers to bring this to the Planning Committee soon.

Shropshire Council, encouraged by me and supported by many residents, has made more progress on this iconic property in the past eighteen months than had been made in the past eighteen years. We don’t want to lose momentum now.

 

Local homes for local people in Much Wenlock

The development off the Callaughton lane in Much Wenlock is proceeding apace and is on schedule for completion in the spring of 2018. There seems to be uncertainty in some quarters about the eligibility of local people for these new homes. The Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan 2013-26 provides for meeting the affordable housing needs of people with a local connection to Much Wenlock. Hopefully the following will provide greater clarity.

20024222_1265215133600547_6221868605835787218_o

The Local Lettings Plan (LLP) for the development is based on others used in Shropshire and, in brief, preference will be given to people with a strong Much Wenlock connection. This means either a resident or a person with a local connection to the parish of Much Wenlock will need to meet two criteria, such as 1): your parents were permanently resident in the local area at the time of your birth, or 2): you were in permanent residence in the local area for any period of five years as a child attending a local school. There are a number of other alternative qualifying criteria; this scheme is different from any previous affordable housing developments in Much Wenlock as this is the first time there will be an LLP in place which will give priority to local people.

18839695_1220406068081454_6446987951900263183_o

Only if there are insufficient applicants from Much Wenlock within six weeks will applications be open to neighbouring parishes. And only after twelve weeks of insufficient applicants will applications then be open to the whole of Shropshire. There is more detail in the LLP document which is available to view on Shropshire Housing Group’s website using this download link. The LLP was considered formally by the Town Council at its meetings of 2nd June 2016 and 6th April 2017 and there have been frequent updates from the Project Group.

Shropshire HomePoint provides one-stop access for people seeking housing and manages the Shropshire Housing Register, also known as the Housing Waiting List. When the new properties are close to completion, applicants will be able to bid for them via HomePoint. Application forms are available from Shropshire Homepoint, on-line at  www.shropshirehomepoint.co.uk and limited availability on the site notice board. Shropshire Housing Group’s updates on the project are now all via the Facebook group New Homes at Callaughton Lane”.

At night Much Wenlock’s streets are full and the car parks are nearly empty*

Shropshire Council’s consultation setting out its car parking proposals is divided into four parts. The second one deals with the tariff framework for:

  1. Weekly tickets
  2. Season tickets
  3. Residents’ off-street permits
  4. Coach & HGV parking

Probably the most interesting aspect of the second consultation is the proposal to make residents’ off-street car parking permits available in Much Wenlock. There are two pricing discount options being considered and there are two different types of permit. Type 1 is valid all of the time and Type 2 probably from 5pm until 10am and at all times on Saturdays and Sundays.

Fullscreen capture 12-Jul-17 92144 AM

For Much Wenlock, Type 1 is either £320 or £400 in St Mary’s Lane or Falcons Court. In New Road it will be £192 or £240 dependent upon the discount option. Type 2, which will probably appeal to commuters living in the town, is either £160 or £240 in St Mary’s Lane or Falcons Court. In New Road it will be £96 or £144 dependent upon the discount option. Given that the only current permit alternative is a season ticket (£450 in St Mary’s Lane and Falcons Court or £270 in New Road) this is worth consideration.

It is proposed that weekly tickets may be purchased and can be used at all Shropshire Council car parks in the same, or lower, banding. For Much Wenlock, buying 8 hours on the meter in Falcons Court or St Mary’s Lane currently costs £3 per day, and if you’re parking for five days that would be £15. The proposal is that this would now be £17 for the week. If you’re parking in New Road car park currently it would cost you £9 for the week and the proposal would cost £10.

There are further season tickets available for 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. Shropshire Council is consulting on two discount options but, at these proposed prices, it will be surprising if they prove attractive to drivers.

Much Wenlock season ticket options - click to enlarge

Much Wenlock season ticket options – click to enlarge

The current charges are lower than those proposed and, in the past three years, only four season tickets have been purchased. I don’t know what length of time these were for.

Fullscreen capture 15-Jul-018

The consultation not only seeks your comments on the proposals, but also any alternative suggestions that you might have. Of course, you may have observations about how the proposed strategy might affect Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth or other towns that many of us visit.

* Health warning – I have extracted this information from the draft consultation which was approved by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet on 12th July 2017. I have endeavoured to represent it accurately so far as Much Wenlock is concerned, but I urge you to refer to the official consultation document when you make your comments.

Will increased charges make under-used car parks in Much Wenlock more popular?*

I don’t think so.

Shropshire Council’s consultation setting out its car parking proposals is divided into four parts. The first one deals with:

  1. Linear charging
  2. Pricing bands
  3. Unrestricted parking
  4. Evening parking
  5. Loading bays
  6. “Pop & Shop” parking, and
  7. Raven Meadows opening hours

I mentioned the impact of linear charging in my first article on this consultation. At St Mary’s Lane car park, and the little-used Falcons Court car park, a stay for up to three hours is likely to prove to be slightly cheaper than it is currently. For periods longer than three hours (for instance if a visitor is going for a ramble on the Shropshire Way, or taking in the museum and a spot of lunch) it becomes increasingly expensive to stay for a long period (not exceeding a day).

The Back Lane short-stay car park, where waiting is currently limited to one hour, will have the time restriction lifted and rely upon the hourly charge of 70p to ensure that there’s a rapid turnover.

Back Lane car park, Much Wenlock

Back Lane car park, Much Wenlock – Thursday 13th July 2017 6pm

Evening parking is currently free after 6pm, until 8am the following day. The proposal is for the free overnight stay to start later -at 8pm, and instead remain in place until 9am the following day. The draft consultation document demonstrates that this seems to be driven by the desire for consistency in Shropshire and to make it easier for Shropshire Council to manage.

Falcons Court car park

Falcons Court car park, Much Wenlock  – Thursday 13th July 2017 6pm

The 15-minute “pop & shop” period introduced in 2013 is going under these proposals. Shropshire Council reckon that the 10-minute “observation period”,  i.e. before an enforcement officer can slap a ticket on your vehicle, is enough to buy something like a newspaper. They say that they want to encourage folk to visit our towns for longer so that they’ll spend more money. But shoppers may have to spend more money on parking charges too. I am concerned that this will lead to more people parking their cars and vans on double yellow lines, some times on the footway, while they pop to buy a sandwich, or go to the bank.

The consultation not only seeks your comments on the proposals, but also any alternative suggestions that you might have. I am keen that we invest in signing pedestrian access to our car parks better and using imaginative solutions to get more cars off the streets into the car parks. Of course, you may have observations about how the proposed strategy might affect Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth or other towns that many of us visit.

* Health warning – I have extracted this information from the draft consultation which was approved by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet on 12th July 2017. I have endeavoured to represent it accurately so far as Much Wenlock is concerned, but I urge you to refer to the official consultation document when you make your comments.

Car parking proposed charges – bad news for Much Wenlock?*

Much Wenlock is a charming town, loved by residents and visitors alike. But, like many such places, the motor car is a blessing and a curse. With limited public transport available, cars and coaches are the principal means of visiting the town. Before the development of Telford new town and the growth of commuting to jobs there, and to the West Midlands, Much Wenlock was a small market town whose economic activity was largely agriculture and limestone quarrying. While its transformation in the past fifty years with the advent of new housing estates has been largely positive, nearly all of the attractive traditional stone cottages and brick terraces which line the streets have no off-street car parking area.

As a result, the streets are lined with parked cars – as they are in many other historic towns. Meanwhile, it is rare that Much Wenlock’s car parks are full. Unless there is a major event taking place in the town it is virtually unknown for Falcons Court and New Road car parks to see more than a handful of cars. This is not only the case during the day when the shops and cafés are open, but also at night. Currently, Shropshire Council’s car parks in Much Wenlock are free overnight, but they are little-used by residents.

A consultation was carried out recently regarding on-street parking, loading bays and a disabled parking bay.  Whilst public comments resulted in some alterations to those proposals, they haven’t been implemented yet. Similarly, efforts to keep unnecessary HGVs off the streets of Much Wenlock seem to have stalled at present. I’m pushing hard to get these schemes in place but meanwhile a Shropshire-wide car parking proposal may make matters worse.

People are to be asked for their views on Shropshire Council’s new draft parking strategy. The current charging arrangements were introduced in 2012 and a lot has changed in the intervening five years. The proposals include:

  • ‘Linear’ (set price per hour) parking, pricing bands, unrestricted parking, evening parking, loading bays and ‘pop and shop’ parking.
  • A new policy and tariff framework for weekly tickets, season tickets, residents’ off-street permits, and for coach and HGV parking.
  • Changes to Shropshire’s Council’s on-street residents’ parking permit scheme.
  • Changes to the car parking waiver system.

Each of these proposals will have stand-alone consultations. Clearly, some of these options will not apply in Much Wenlock but there are changes proposed for the town.Fullscreen capture 12-Jul-17 92144 AMI urge you to respond both in respect of changes that would be proposed to affect residents of and visitors to Much Wenlock; and how parking elsewhere in the county will affect drivers from Much Wenlock. Modern, cashless, methods of payment are included in the proposals.

The proposals are extensive and there is not sufficient space here to set them out.  Suffice to say, one hour’s parking in St Mary’s Lane and Falcons Court car parks is proposed to be 50p compared to the 90p current charge.  Three hours would be cheaper than at present.

Fullscreen capture 12-Jul-17 90745 AM

The “linear” charging proposal means that longer stays in these and in the less popular New Road car park will be more expensive than the current regime.

Fullscreen capture 12-Jul-17 84921 AM

Back Lane car park is the only one that visitors to the town see as they drive into the High Street. Currently waiting is limited to one hour, Monday to Saturday. The proposal, whilst expensive, would mean that visitors could park all day, which may have an impact on convenience for shoppers and thus the local economy.Fullscreen capture 12-Jul-17 84933 AM

In summary, the proposed off-street car parking charges per hour in Much Wenlock are:

St Mary’s Lane – 50p

Falcons Court – 50p

New Road – 30p

Back Lane – 70p

I will write separately about season tickets and other aspects of the proposals in due course.

During the consultation period, Shropshire Council intends to set up information stands in many towns including Much Wenlock. The consultation will available on-line on Shropshire Council’s website and in the library until mid-September.

The consultation not only seeks your comments on the proposals, but also any alternative suggestions that you might have. Of course, you may have observations about how the proposed strategy might affect Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth or other towns that many of us visit.

* Health warning – I have extracted this information from the draft consultation which was approved by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet on 12th July 2017. I have endeavoured to represent it accurately so far as Much Wenlock is concerned, but I urge you to refer to the official consultation document when you make your comments.

Traffic diversion through Much Wenlock (2)

diversion-sign1A month ago I wrote about the impact of diverted traffic on Much Wenlock. The diversion is because of Network Rail’s intention to “deliver a safety-critical upgrade” to Onibury level crossing between Ludlow and Craven Arms on the A49.

Network Rail say “Approximately 6,000 vehicles a day use this busy level crossing, connecting Leominster and Shrewsbury. This heavy usage, combined with the track layout and the interface between the road and railway mean its surface is prone to significant deterioration.” You can read more about their plans here.

The impact of these works is an extensive diversion, which will lead through the A458 in Much Wenlock.

Fullscreen capture 02-Jun-17 72657 PM

I have made my concerns about Much Wenlock very clear to Network Rail, Highways England and Shropshire Council. They include the impact of wide and heavy vehicles on narrow Victoria Road, the increased difficulty for pedestrians in crossing the A458 and the probability of locals, and those reliant on satnav, trying to dodge hold-ups by detouring along narrow lanes and residential streets.

Centurion Traffic Management are firming up their ancillary traffic management proposals for the county roads – which includes calming measures (“SLOW” warning signs prior to the identified pinch point plus “ONCOMING VEHICLES IN CENTRE OF ROAD” or similar – and “ACCESS ONLY” warning signs at the Wigwig/Homer access junctions) on the A458 and A4169. Hopefully there will be further measures to prevent traffic rat-running through the town especially during the rush hour.

This week, a further concern has arisen. A couple of years ago, the A458 Harley Hill/Bank was resurfaced following a fatal accident in 2012. My recollection is that the surface was deemed to be partially the cause of the smash. On Tuesday this week we had a car overturn and a motorcycle collide with a car in two separate incidents in the same spot.
image2 (8)

I have therefore requested that a survey be conducted to ensure that there is no latent problem with the road that might prove hazardous to the increased volume of traffic that is expected. image1 (17)

The works are due to commence 1st July for the 10 day period. Meanwhile the planned works on the Bridgnorth by-pass have been put back by a week to avoid a clash.

Traffic diversion through Much Wenlock

We’ve seen some disruption this year on Much Wenlock’s roads, mostly because of resurfacing. The overwhelming majority of local residents are tolerant of delays, noise and dirt which are the inevitable consequence of highways improvements and maintenance. Occasionally we have to bear additional diverted traffic because of roadworks elsewhere – such as when the B4380 Buildwas-Atcham road was being resurfaced a couple of years ago.

This summer there are plans that bring a rather more substantial diversion our way. The A49 at Onibury, between Ludlow and Craven Arms, is to be closed so that Network Rail can carry out essential work at the level crossing. The proposed diversion is from Ludlow to Kidderminster, then to Bridgnorth and on to Shrewsbury (and, for southbound traffic, the reverse). This inevitably means the diverted traffic driving through Much Wenlock.image6Given that the A49 is a trunk road, it is understandable that the diversion should be on roads capable of taking large volumes of heavy traffic. For the most part, the diversion route can accommodate this extra load for ten days although, given that it’s an additional 50 miles on the journey, I suspect that some drivers will try to find a short-cut. 
image1 (21)My principal concern, so far as Much Wenlock is concerned, is the narrow stretch of the A458 between the B4378 Bourton Road junction and the B4371 Stretton Road junction. Victoria Road is a pinch point, bounded by old limestone walls on both sides. The wall supporting the elevated footway is frequently struck by vehicles and evidence of the impacts is there for all to see – shards of stone and mortar on the road. For much of this 400 yard stretch, this footway is the only pedestrian route. image4 (2)Residents of Victoria Road and of Stretton Road, comprising some 70 properties, who walk into Much Wenlock already have to negotiate traffic approaching around blind bends, sometime at speeds in excess of the permitted limit. The only way to cross over is via a central refuge in Victoria Road. Of course visitors to our local campsites will have to use this route as well when heading into the town for a meal or drink, or to take in the sights.image5Adding considerably more traffic, day and night, will increase the risks for local pedestrians and visitors to our town this summer. These photographs were taken in the space of five minutes mid-morning today. The morning and evening rush-hour sees far more traffic.image2 (8)-001Vehicles heading in both directions will have to negotiate Wenlock Edge. Heading from Shrewsbury, this an especially challenging incline for heavy vehicles and those towing trailer and caravans. An increase in the volume of traffic will see more instances of hill starts when traffic has come to a halt. And this brings me to another concern.

Driving from Cressage toward Much Wenlock along the A458, it is possible to see if the traffic is at a halt at the bottom of the incline from a long distance. If it is, the temptation is to turn off at Wig Wig and try to get ahead of the blockage. This single-track lane is unsuitable for more than the occasional car or tractor and certainly hazardous for a large vehicle which would have to negotiate the ford and the tight bends. Any use of this as a cut-through would be a major inconvenience to the local residents and an added frustration for drivers who shouldn’t be using the route.homer wigwigI’ve aired my concerns with the hard-pressed highways team who have to juggle essential maintenance by Network Rail, the Highways Agency and our own Shropshire Council Highways department, along with the various electricity, water, gas and telephone undertakings. They understand my concerns – and mine aren’t the only ones. As a result, a meeting is being arranged to re-examine all of the options and consider what traffic management measures might ease the load for local residents and for all motorists. I’m hoping that, by bringing all parties together, we can look forward to a less congested Victoria Road than might otherwise be the case.image1 (20)

David Turner


Woodhouse Farm
Wyke
Much Wenlock
TF13 6NZ

01952 728802

david.turner@shropshire.gov.uk
Shropshire Council
Categories
Disclaimer
The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.