Development in Much Wenlock – next steps

In the past couple of days Shropshire Council has released a document in its Shropshire Local Plan Review entitled “Preferred Scale and Distribution of Development Consultation Response Summary“. As summaries goes, it’s fairly lengthy at 18 pages.

Shropshire Council undertook an eight week “Preferred Scale and Distribution of Development Consultation” at the end of last year which sought views from all parties on the preferred scale and distribution of development for the Local Plan Review; it:

  • Sets out the preferred scale of housing and employment development in Shropshire 2016-36;
  • Sets out the preferred distribution of this growth;
  • Identifies housing and employment growth guidelines for the strategic centre and each principal and key centre;
  • Confirms the methodology which Shropshire Council proposes to adopt to identify a settlement hierarchy in Shropshire;
  • Lists the settlements which form part of this hierarchy, including those that will, in future, be identified as Community Hubs and those that will be maintained as Community Clusters;
  • Proposes draft policies for the management of development within Community Hubs and Community Clusters; and
  • Identifies other development requirements which may need to be addressed as part of the Local Plan Review.

Respondents of all sorts took part including individuals, businesses, landowners and Town and Parish Councils. The responses can be seen in this document, but of particular interest will be the responses received in respect of Much Wenlock, as follows:

  • There is a lack of local employment opportunities but a demand for small units for specialist manufacturing and office space. Therefore more appropriate employment allocations than identified are required.
  • Proposals need to better reflect the adopted Neighbourhood Plan. This gives priority to small scale developments with appropriate housing mix including smaller properties, social housing and housing for the elderly and disabled. It also identifies appropriate numbers.
  • Much Wenlock has particular physical and environmental constraints including proximity to the AONB.
  • Small-scale development would be most in keeping with the town’s character.
  • Need to avoid development which encourages commuting.

Shropshire Council is proposing further stages of “targeted consultation” on ‘Preferred Options’ over the next 12 months. It isn’t explicit, but I am thinking this means consulting with communities about the results of the “call for sites exercise that took place last year”. I wrote at the time about an approach to Much Wenlock Town Council by Wenlock Estates. So, for the time being, wait and see, but I shall be pressing for an early meeting with Shropshire Council’s Planning Policy team.