Public meeting – where should we build new homes?

Shropshire Council’s Planning Policy team are now on the road conducting  public meetings around the county. For instance, public meetings are taking place to present proposals in Highley on 9th January, Ludlow on 14th January and Bridgnorth on 17th January. These are simply to provide information about sites and to answer questions. They are not being held to make decisions. Those policy decisions will be taken by Shropshire Council in due course, hopefully taking into account the responses to the current consultation on preferred sites in Shrewsbury, the “Principal” and “Key Centres” (e.g. Much Wenlock) and each proposed “Community Hub” (e.g. Cressage).

I’ve written about this process and the consultation exercise in the Wenlock Herald in June and December, and on this website in April, November and December. I will be chairing the Much Wenlock meeting which takes place at Priory Hall on Thursday 3rd January at 7pm. I have leafleted Much Wenlock addresses and have displayed posters at the key points. I hope you’ll be able attend.

I encourage you to not only take part in the consultation – if you don’t your views are unlikely to be considered – but also to tell the Town Council and me what you think. In the case of Cressage and Buildwas (a “Cluster”), tell the parish council and Shropshire Cllr Claire Wild.

The Town Council is holding a special meeting to consider its response on Thursday 17th January. I suggest that you watch the notice board at the Corn Exchange or the website for further details over the next few days.

In response to my earlier invitation, I have already received the views of a number of residents. They include:

  • More development – the High Street needs it.
  • Support only for more houses on brownfield sites within the development boundary. Extending the town boundary further will result in residents driving into the town centre causing further congestion.
  • The proposed growth is modest, but access onto the A458 needs to be a condition of any development.
  • Give consideration to alternative sites around the Smithfield Road part of town which might be better suited to residential development over the next 20 or so years.
  • No housing should cut the Primary School off from contact with the countryside.
  • Hasn’t the proposed site already been rejected on the grounds of poor drainage? The risk of flooding into Hunters Gate?
  • Shropshire Council needs to build affordable housing
  • A roundabout onto the A458 would invite inevitable development all the way up to Merrywell Lane and change the nature of Much Wenlock.
  • The proposed site is defined as High Quality Agricultural Land.
  • What sort of ridiculous theme are the architects going to come up with?
  • Concerns are with density, layout and design. What about the Design Statement?

Inevitably, a number of residents are concerned about the impact of the housing likely to be developed on the Ironbridge Power Station site in the foreseeable future.

The site preferred by Shropshire Council is 3.8ha with capacity for 80 dwellings, adjoining the Primary School and Hunters Gate, Much Wenlock.

The Council’s “Evidence base” includes a “Strategic Land Availability Assessment” which lists other sites that have been considered – some within the existing development boundary and some outside, on greenfield land. This list, and further evidence, may be found here. Further information about the evidence base is here.

I will be responding to the consultation before the deadline of 31st January, and I encourage you to do so as well. Shropshire Council has undertaken that paper copies will be provided at libraries and council offices in the main towns. You may find it more convenient to respond online – here is the link.