I wrote a couple of weeks ago about early steps by the new owners, Harworth Group, to engage with the local community. With eight major projects in the north of England under their belts, they appear to be skilled not only in terms of demolition and remediation, but also in mixed development.
I was pleased to take part in the stakeholders’ workshop sessions attended by councillors, planners and environmental groups on site on 27th September. Over the following two weeks, Harworth Group worked up the early aspirations into two alternative visions. These were available for all to see at an Open Day on 11th October which was attended by around 600 residents. I was very pleased to bump into a number of Much Wenlock residents taking a keen interest in the site and in these early draft proposals.
Both proposal options include housing, commercial, heritage, culture & community, village centre uses, leisure/ pastimes and, of course, the infrastructure necessary to support these uses.
It is striking that the housing aspiration is for 1,000-plus homes, and both proposals place the largest part of it at the Much Wenlock road (A4169) end of the site where there is likely to be a new road junction(s). I have some early concerns about this, inasmuch as any traffic heading for Bridgnorth and all points to the south will use the A4169 through Much Wenlock. Any vehicles heading for Shrewsbury and beyond will either use the B4380 through Buildwas and Leighton or the A4169, turning right at the Gaskell Arms junction.
I am less concerned about demolition and construction traffic, which will be required to use haul routes heading up Jiggers Bank towards the M54, or rail, as a condition of the planning consents.
You are invited to view the alternative proposals online and comment until 9th November – the website is www.ironbridgeregeneration.co.uk. Harworth Group expects to develop a more detailed masterplan by Spring 2019 and to submit a planning application (on which there will be further consultation) on the preferred option by late 2019. You may email your comments or write to Ironbridge Consultation c/o Pegasus, 4 The Courtyard, Church Street, Lockington DE74 2SL.