I wrote about the planning application at the end of August but, in brief it is for “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 of this derelict property.
Yesterday, Shropshire Council’s South Planning Committee members took a look at this site. I am a member of this committee. Well, we got about 20 yards into the garden before finding the brambles impenetrable without thorn-proof clothing! It was necessary for us to view the back of the site from the adjoining Pinefield Close houses, which gave us a good idea of the scale of the development area.
I’ve previously written on several occasions about the prospects for the historically significant Pinefield (also known as 40 High Street), which has been abandoned for many years.
The Planning Committee had a good grasp of the physical issues by the time the agenda item was reached this afternoon. There were two local residents on the public seats, together with representatives of Much Wenlock Town Council and Much Wenlock Civic Society. The planning application was recommended by council officers for approval and a condition has been imposed that the new houses cannot be occupied until Pinefield has been repaired.
One of the local residents spoke against the approval of the scheme, indicating that he thought this was inappropriate development and would result in the loss of wildlife habitat. One of the Committee members asked him what he would rather see happen to the site, which drew the response that it should have been maintained before it became derelict. Which I think most people would agree with, but we are faced with a problem in the here and now!
Both the Town Council and the Civic Society representatives spoke in favour of the development, appreciating that the current scheme is a vast improvement over the previous, unsuccessful, application for four executive homes. I then had the opportunity as the Local Councillor to speak to the Committee, pointing out the widespread local concern about Pinefield and the sympathetic design and layout of the three proposed dwellings. I also emphasised the need for a well thought through Traffic Management Plan for the construction phase, given the difficulty that construction traffic would be likely to encounter when emerging onto the busy A458. I also expressed concern about the possibility of branches and vegetation being burnt on site. With the fire station next door, incineration wouldn’t be likely to be a problem but, with houses all around, two ‘A’ roads adjacent, and a hotel opposite, smoke could be both unpleasant and a hazard to motorists.
As the Local Councillor, I couldn’t take part in the debate or vote, so I left the room. When I was recalled a little while later I was very pleased to learn that the application had been approved – unanimously. There’s still a long way to go, but this is another positive step towards saving the historic Pinefield house.