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Ironbridge Power Station (2)

I wrote recently about the closure of Ironbridge Power Station.

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A number of stakeholders met in February to discuss the future of the site with the owners, Uniper. I was among them, given the proximity of the site to Much Wenlock. Also present was Ironbridge representative, Telford & Wrekin’s Cllr Nicola Lowery, and Shropshire Cllr Claire Wild, in whose electoral division the power station is situated.

There were some challenging questions for the Uniper executives. The power station was the single biggest business rate payer in the Shropshire Council area. The site is adjacent to the Ironbridge Gorge and that offers great opportunity but also some significant challenges as reported by the Shropshire Star.

Now all the talk is beginning to turn into reality with an “Application for prior notification under Schedule 2 Part 11 of the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 for the demolition of Ironbridge power station conveyors 6 and 7 and associated structures”. Details can be found here on Shropshire Council’s website. The demolition area is circled in red on these photographs.

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The covering letter from Uniper says that the “demolition work of conveyors and associated structures is intended to commence in Q3 2017. It is anticipated that the demolition will take approximately 10 weeks”. It goes on to detail measures it is taking to deal with dust, noise and vibration, ecology, waste management and – most important for Much Wenlock – transport. I was relieved to read that:

“Primary access and egress routes to the site will be via the existing agreed HGV routes detailed below:

1. Traffic exiting the M54 at junction 4 will take the A454 (W), A4169 (Queensway, W), A4169 (Buildwas Bank, S) and Buildwas Road.
2. Traffic exiting the M54 at junction 6 will take the A5223 (S), A4169 (S) and Buildwas Road.”

Traffic will clearly have an impact on local occupiers, and in Buildwas Road in particular. Whilst this provides detail of primary routes, I remain cautious that this description does not leave the way clear for secondary routes to use the ancient and narrow Sheinton Street in Much Wenlock’s conservation area that carries the A4169 southwards. I shall be watching this closely.Fullscreen capture 20-May-17 23919 PM

With an estimated 360 tonnes of waste material to be removed from site over the duration of the works, 250 tonnes of which is metal, clearly the impact will be significant. It is, of course, necessary to carry out this work in order that the site can be sold and re-used but, given the relatively small area affected by these works, it is an indication of the enormous challenge that clearing the remainder of the site will entail.

Swan & Falcon Inn

 

The Swan & Falcon Inn, more recently occupied by Barclays Bank, has been empty for some months. There has been much local concern since planning enforcement action resulted in a neighbouring part-built property at 26 Falcons Court in Much Wenlock’s High street being demolished some years ago. An appeal to the planning inspector to approve the development was dismissed [1] in September 2010 on a number of grounds including the character and appearance of the Much Wenlock Conservation Area, the effect upon neighbouring occupiers, the scale of the development and the materials used.

Following the demolition of the newly-built property, the site was sold to the owners of the former bank building. Subsequent planning applications for the building and the empty site have been lodged but have failed to meet with approval. The site has lain empty for some years and there has been further concern about the visual impact on the town.

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So I welcome the fact that there’s been a re-submission, omitting the developments to the side and rear, and retaining the willow tree on the back land. The details are contained in the planning application [2] and the listed building application [3]. While there will doubtless be comments on the proposals, at first glance the proposal seems to address many of the previous objections raised by local residents.

15 High Street Much Wenlock - proposed front elevation

15 High Street Much Wenlock – proposed front elevation

[1] Appeal decision

[2] Planning application

[3] Listed building application

Much Wenlock’s flood alleviation measures in focus

On 25th April the English Severn and Wye Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) held its regular meeting – this time in Much Wenlock. I was pleased to be able to welcome the committee members to our splendid Guildhall and our visitors pronounced that they were impressed with their surroundings – “grand setting”, “most picturesque meeting venue” etc.


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The RFCC brings together members appointed by Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) and independent members with relevant experience to:

  • Ensure there are coherent plans for identifying, communicating and managing flood and coastal erosion risks across catchments and shorelines;
  • Promote efficient, targeted and risk-based investment in flood and coastal erosion risk management that optimises value for money and benefits for local communities;
  • Provide a link between the Environment Agency, LLFAs, other risk management authorities and other relevant bodies to engender mutual understanding of flood and coastal erosion risks in its area.

Once the formal meeting was over, the visitors were given a short presentation about Much Wenlock‘s flood history and the measures currently underway to alleviate surface water flooding. It seems a long time since I was chairing the Town Council’s Flood Management Working Group when we managed to get Shropshire Council, the Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water and our Member of Parliament, Philip Dunne, around a table – in the very same Guildhall. That was in 2010 and an Integrated Urban Drainage Management Plan was subsequently created. The delegates then left the historic splendour of the Guildhall and donned hard hats and hi-vis jackets at Stretton Road to view the construction.

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The scale of the works is impressive and the pre-cast outfall headwall to the inlet channel has been installed. The base slab for the main outfall structure has been poured in concrete, and works on constructing the walls is now ongoing.

Work is also in progress to drain the water from Stretton Road into the new pool.
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The wheel wash is keeping the local roads as clean as possible, given the nature of the task and safe management of the site is clearly of paramount importance.

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Meanwhile at The Sytche, similar works are taking place, albeit on a smaller scale.

I hope that, as the works reach their conclusion, the Environment Agency and Shropshire Council will feel able to have a residents’ open day to explain how this £2m scheme will go a long way towards alleviating surface and pluvial flooding in Much Wenlock.

Much Wenlock Leisure Centre

Shropshire Council is consulting on its “Draft Indoor Leisure Facilities Strategy for Shropshire – 2017 to 2022“. The consultation is open until 8th May and all are welcome to take part.

Much Wenlock Leisure Centre, along with Idsall Sports Centre, Shifnal and Roman Road Sports Centre, Shrewsbury, is currently managed by Shropshire Council. The other 21 facilities in Shropshire are managed by schools and other organisations.

The Much Wenlock Leisure Centre will be the subject of separate management arrangements and there will be further local consultation in due course.

Local elections on 4th May

On 5th April, Shropshire Council published details of the candidates for elections to be held on 4th May.

So far as Shropshire Council elections are concerned, I was surprised to learn that I am the only candidate for the Much Wenlock division. As such, this is the only seat out of 74 across the authority not to be contested. So, come 4th May, I will have been elected uncontested as the Conservative candidate for Much Wenlock division.IMG_0492

As regards town and parish council elections, the following is the position in the Much Wenlock division.

Barrow Parish Council (five members)

Current Parish Councillors Nick Downes, Philip Knott and Milner Whiteman have been nominated. Long-serving parish councillors Shirley King and Sally Gibbon are standing down. Anne Skinner from Linley and Steven Churchill from Benthall have been nominated. Given that the number of nominations equals the complement of the parish council, there will be no election.

Broseley Town Council, Broseley Wood ward (one member)

Current Town Councillor Andy Cooke is standing down and Gavin Goodall, who has recently moved to Shropshire, has been nominated. Given that he is unopposed, there will be no election.

Easthope, Shipton & Stanton Long Parish Council, Easthope ward (two members)

Current Parish Councillors Robin Gibson and Bob Seaward are standing down. No nominations have been received, so the Parish Council will co-opt for this ward.

Easthope, Shipton & Stanton Long Parish Council, Shipton ward (two members)

Current Parish Councillors Simon Brown and Brian Williams have been nominated. Given that the number of nominations equals the complement of the ward, there will be no election.

Easthope, Shipton & Stanton Long Parish Council, Stanton Long ward (three members)

Current Parish Councillors Mike Belshaw, Keith Jones and Jonathan Taylor have been nominated. Given that the number of nominations equals the complement of the ward, there will be no election.

Much Wenlock Town Council (eleven members)

Current Town Councillors Robin Bennett, Mike Grace, Paul Laming, Joffrey Watson and I are standing down and Graham Edgcumbe-Venning, Bert Harper, Mary Hill, Yvonne Holyoak, Dafydd Jenkins and Milner Whiteman OBE are standing again. New candidates standing are Trevor Childs, former town mayor David Gibbon, Robert Toft and Michael Walter. There is one nomination short of the full complement, so the Town Council will co-opt.

Pinefield – 40 High Street, Much Wenlock

On 9th March I wrote here about a listed building application that had been lodged with Shropshire Council. I described myself as being “cautiously pleased” to see the application which aimed to carry out repairs, reinstatements and minor alterations to the historic Pinefield. I was cautious because I hadn’t seen the associated planning application for enabling development on the backland.

Today I’ve been notified that an application, reference number 17/00998/FUL, has been lodged with Shropshire Council seeking to erect “1no detached dwelling with garage, repair of existing outbuilding in close proximity and erection of 2no semi detached dwellings with attached 3bay garage”. A quick glance at the site layout indicates that the scheme appears to be far better laid out and less imposing than the previous application for four dwellings.

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The very helpful aerial site perspective provided by the applicants certainly seems more sympathetic to its setting in the curtilage of the listed building, and to the conservation area. I remain concerned that the garden area remaining with Pinefield appears inadequate for such an imposing property, and when it is refurbished and, hopefully, occupied it is likely that the residents will have cars. No vehicular access is shown and even if a driveway is formed, parking and garaging will consume a large part of this garden space.Fullscreen capture 31-Mar-17 80443 PMNonetheless, this is a step in the right direction and I welcome the progress. Doubtless local residents will take time to consider their opinion of the proposals. In view of the historic importance of Pinefield, its setting in the conservation area and my concerns about vehicular access and egress on the busy A458, I have requested that both applications are determined by Shropshire Council’s South Planning Committee.

Local elections – May 2017

The town and parish councils and Shropshire Council are up for election on 4th May. Much Wenlock Town Council has been running a publicity drive for some months to attract folk to stand for this most local form of democracy. This is your opportunity to make a positive difference in the town; hopefully someone from Bourton and Homer will step forward to provide a stronger voice for their villages.ballot paper

After serving Much Wenlock and the surrounding area for four years as your Shropshire Councillor I now intend standing again as the Conservative candidate. I have found the role fulfilling and I’ve met more lovely folk, many of whom I’ve been able to help with their problems. It is however time-consuming and, from time to time, challenging. If any potential candidate would like to discuss what’s involved, they’re more than welcome to pick up the phone or meet me at my next advice surgery. Some weeks ago I wrote a short piece about my week as a Shropshire Councillor, which you can read online here.

Details on how to stand for election as a councillor are here.

Pinefield – 40 High Street, Much Wenlock

I have written about this site previously – in August 2015, October 2015 and July 2016, when a Section 215 notice was served by Shropshire Council. This required the owners to carry out urgent works to the building to make it safe.

Pinefield

Pinefield – 40 High Street, Much Wenlock

This followed much local concern about the integrity of this important and high-profile Grade II listed building for many years. Over the past few weeks, there have been alarming reports about glass falling from the rotting window frames. I am therefore cautiously pleased to note that a Listed Building Application has been received by Shropshire Council which includes “repairs, reinstatements and minor alterations affecting a Grade II Listed Building to include repair and renewal of roof coverings, rainwater goods, external render, doors, windows and interiors “. The planning application may be seen herethe Design, Access & Heritage Impact statement for repairs and alterations to Pinefield sets out a comprehensive appraisal of the developer’s challenge.

My caution is because the application says “….this application is closely linked with the planning application for the erection of 3no traditional dwellings on land to the rear of No40 itself.” The planning application has not yet appeared on Shropshire Council’s website and the two proposals must be viewed alongside each other to ensure that any enabling residential development is appropriate. Pinefield’s refurbishment must not be achieved at the expense of poor design or overbearing development.

 

 

 

Recycling

Changes to the national compost standard a few years ago meant that householders could not dispose of cardboard mixed with garden waste. Happily, we’ve been able to negotiate contract revisions and, by the time you read this, you should have received a new blue bag for paper and cardboard which you should put out for collection with rest of your recycling. The paper and cardboard from your new blue bag is bundled and sent to a reprocessor to be made into paper and cardboard again.

Affordable housing

Affordable homes in Much Wenlock for folk who can demonstrate a Much Wenlock connection come a step closer – formal planning consent has now been granted for the scheme encouraged by the Neighbourhood Plan. Subject to satisfying planning conditions, I understand that Shropshire Housing Group’s builders hope to commence on site in Callaughton lane in March. I’m very pleased that the contractors have advertised locally for craftsmen – houses for local people using local skills and labour!

builder recruitment Wenlock Herald

If you’re interested in living in one of these homes, Shropshire Council’s housing options team can check your eligibility for affordable housing. The excellent and recently-introduced Shropshire Choices website is a good place to start: https://www.shropshirechoices.org.uk/yourhousingoptions. In due course, a local lettings policy is going to be put in place to check eligibility for local connections.

Two of the twelve properties will be available for shared ownership. For more information on these, please go to the housing association’s website for more details: www.shropshirehousing.org.uk/sharedownership

David Turner


Woodhouse Farm
Wyke
Much Wenlock
TF13 6NZ

01952 728802

david.turner@shropshire.gov.uk
Shropshire Council
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Disclaimer
The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.