As part of its Local Plan Review, Shropshire Council is now consulting on the preferred scale and distribution of development – how many houses and where they might be built. “Local” in this context means Shropshire.
I wrote in September and October on this topic. I’ll remind you that the County’s approach is that there should be a further 150 houses in Much Wenlock, of which 45 (in various locations) are already in the pipeline. Thus a further 105 or thereabouts would have to be found by 2036 – 19 years hence. The proposal also suggests that a further 0.5 hectare of employment land is required locally.
Much Wenlock Town Council has some decisions to take in responding to this consultation. In handling its approach to the Review it needs to consider whether the number of houses proposed is acceptable in the Plan period. It could seek to continue the current policy of anticipating windfall sites, infilling within the current development boundary. Or it could consider allocating land in a place, or places, close to the town for housing development thus extending the development boundary. If the latter option is chosen, the allocation could be made by the Town Council, or it could be carried out by Shropshire Council.
The Neighbourhood Plan seeks housing developments which include two and three bedroom dwellings. Housing developments will also be expected to include an element of single level dwellings and to meet the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities. And most importantly, whatever the number of new dwellings targeted, in order to respect responses to the Neighbourhood Plan, any developments should be small-scale. These principles are not subject to review.
I took the opportunity of speaking at Shropshire Council’s Cabinet meeting on 18th October, quoting the Neighbourhood Plan and emphasising the distinctive features that will help deliver growth envisaged by the local community. I welcomed the reassurance that I was given (go to 1:05:00 on video below)
The consultation on the Local Plan Review runs for eight weeks, closing Friday 22nd December. It is available on Shropshire Council’s website and at the library.