Ellesmere hotel and housing plans scaled back after complaints
Plans for a huge tourist and housing development in Ellesmere have been scaled back after complaints from heritage experts.
Developers hoping to build a hotel, spa, restaurant and 250 homes on land off Canal Way have reduced the size of key buildings after backlash from English Heritage and the Canal and Rivers Trust.
The organisations feared that the development could have a "serious impact" on Ellesmere Yard, home to 19th century preserved Grade II-listed buildings including a blacksmiths and joiners shop, dry dock, yard manager's house and Beech House, the former head offices of the Ellesmere Canal Company.
The development has been hailed as a "lifeline" by civic leaders who say it could be the boost the town's economy needs and create up to 180 jobs.
But many fear it could ruin the charm of Ellesmere.
Nigel Thorns Planning Consultancy has had another look at its plans and has reduced the size of the hotel and spa.
In updated proposals it said that "a number of options" had been put to the organisations concerned and an agreement had been reached.
This would see a large area of open landscaped space opposite the canalside buildings to act as a buffer to the proposed development.
Plans for tennis courts have been dropped and the number of parking spaces cut to create the buffer zone.
In the redesigned plans, the hotel has been reduced from 120 beds to 80 and the shape and placing of the building has been changed, with the height of the hotel "stepping down" from three stories to two stories at each end.
The leisure building has also been reduced in size "by approximately a third" amid other changes.
Lincoln McMullan, chairman of Ellesmere Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: "The biggest change is the reduction of the hotel from 120 bed to 80 beds. I would have liked to have seen it with 120 beds because it would have been able to bring more people into the town, but I am glad that they have come to an agreement.
"If it means the plans can move forward then it is good news.
"I think they have the support of the majority of people and businesses in the town now.
"We want things to keep moving forward now - I know I would like to see a shovel in the ground by the end of April."
Developers said: "The proposed scheme has been carefully developed, with extensive consultation throughout, to ensure it meets all the policy requirements and is completely appropriate for the site.
"The development will provide much needed new homes for Ellesmere and bring significant investment and benefits to the town and wider area."
The plans also include a play barn, pub and restaurant, 200-berth marina, 45 holiday cabins and 70 touring caravan plots.
The plans are available to view on the Shropshire Council website.
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