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Shropshire Council to lobby for planning rule change

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Council bosses will meet with planning minister Nick Boles next week to call for changes in Government policies which are allowing "speculative" housing developments to be approved in Shropshire. 

Shropshire Council housing cabinet member Mal Price and specialist planning policy officer Dave Wallace will go to London on Wednesday to discuss the problems being caused by the five-year land supply issue in the county.

Mr Wallace revealed plans for the talks while speaking at a public meeting in Shrewsbury last night about the effects of development on the Shropshire countryside, which was attended by about 200 people at the Lord Hill Hotel.

Under the controversial National Planning Policy Framework, councils with not enough development land set aside for the next five years have to assess planning applications with a presumption in favour of "sustainable development" – even if sites being put forward have not been selected as areas for possible new housing by local communities.

Mr Wallace told the meeting, which was jointly organised by the county branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Shropshire Wildlife Trust, that he hoped to raise the issue of the "cumulative impact" of allowing unlimited developments through at next week's talks.

"You can get speculative development on the edges of villages one after one after one," he said. "There is no way we can so no to these."

Mr Wallace added there was no imminent prospect of Shropshire's five-year land supply issue being solved. He said there had been under-delivery of homes this year – meaning the next five-year land supply expected in September is unlikely to be over the necessary target.

The meeting was also addressed by Niall Blackie, senior partner at FBC Manby Bowdler, David Parker, a planning consultant from DPPA Oswestry and Colin Preston, chief executive of Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Sarah Bury, chairman of CPRE Shropshire, and the group's vice-chairman Keith Ridland also spoke.

The audience was told any objections to applications should be evidence-based to have the best chance of success.

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