Archive for September, 2017

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 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.

David Turner

Woodhouse Farm
Much Wenlock
TF13 6NZ

01952 728802
Shropshire Council
The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.