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Former guitarist of The Verve Nick McCabe is not such a Lucky Man after Shropshire move

Telford | News | Published:

After years spent living in London, former The Verve guitarist Nick McCabe decided to move with his family to Shropshire to enjoy a more peaceful and rural way of life.

But after settling in to a home overlooking green fields in Newport, Mr McCabe and his partner Caron were horrified to learn that up to 300 homes were being planned for the land next to them.

The site, between the Beechfields estate and the A41 Newport Bypass, is one of 100 areas supposed to be protected from development by Telford & Wrekin Council.

But that has not stopped developers Redrow from consulting the estate's residents on a scheme for two, three and four bedroom houses.

Last week they distributed leaflets to residents setting out their aims.

Mr McCabe said if the development went ahead the new homes would destroy one of the reasons people the very reason people chose to live in Newport - the green spaces.

"When I was growing up I would be climbing trees and playing outside with friends, rather than sat at home watching TV and that is what I want for my son," said Mr McCabe, 44.

"This is one of the many reasons we came to Newport from London, but that could be under threat.

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"My son is only five, and he is really getting behind us, as he doesn't want to see any of the wildlife hurt or disturbed by these houses.

"As a member of the junior branch of the RSPB he is particularly worried for the future on the rich and varied bird population the area supports.

"If the plans do go ahead, it would be solid housing from the canal right up to the Chetwynd area of the town.

"We want to ensure that Newport does not succumb to the fate of many towns where indiscriminate greenfield development has been allowed to destroy the very qualities that originally made those areas special."

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Telford & Wrekin's Local Plan for development says 3,499 homes will be built in Telford & Wrekin between now and 2031 on 17 sites.

However 100 green sites are to be avoided, with "green guarantees".

Mr McCabe's partner, Caron Malcolm, 49, said: "From what we now understand the proposed site is part of the green area under the local plan, which is pretty much the trump card as regards opposing planning permission.

"So we feel much more optimistic than when we received the leaflets last week.

"However, we need to show a solid opposition to this that is not in the interest for the locality, the environment or Newport as a whole.

"Despite the Local Plan these once people have an investment in development they will try to exploit any loopholes possible so it is important to keep active and show that from all sections of the Newport community this is a firm no."

Mr McCabe has set up a Facebook page to oppose the plans and residents have until October 23 to take part in the public consultation.

Linda Bright, spokeswoman for Redrow said: "We are inviting comment from local people on two proposed planning applications for land either side of Plough Lane.

"This is in advance of us submitting an outline application to Telford and Wrekin Council for up to 170 new homes at Oak View, off Kestrel Close, and up to 110 homes at Heritage Fields, off Forton Road.

"We envisage providing a wide range of homes to suit everyone from first time buyers to families. Should these schemes go ahead then they would bring with them a proportion of affordable homes, employment and other community benefits as yet to be negotiated with the local authority.

"It's a sustainable location, just off the A41 and with easy access to the local amenities of Newport. We hope to submit an application by the end of October and it will include a masterplan for the whole site and a traffic assessment report.

"Residents have the opportunity to comment now as part of the pre-application process and will have a further opportunity to comment to the council once the application has been submitted."

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