Letter: Winery plan looks like move to privatise best view of town

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Residents who value the countryside around Shrewsbury should take a look at new plans submitted for the winery and visitor centre at Hencote, just to the west of Ellesmere Road, Shrewsbury.

The squillionaire retired banker who owns the site has applied to substantially vary the plan approved last year despite 32 objections.

I have been trying to view the changes on the council website for two weeks, assuming they were minor as they are described as 'Variation of Condition 2'. I finally managed to download the plans and they are radical.

The new road access parallel to Hencote Lane is shown realigned much higher up the slopes of Winnie Hill. The new route slices across the top in a cutting. It is ludicrous to claim that this is less intrusive.

Instead of continuing to the winery and car park, the new roadway will join Hencote Lane, a long length of which will be widened to a two-lane road, with the newly planted hedge removed. The layout of parking places has been changed, to avoid a water main.

A new 'maintenance building' would be plonked in front of the fine view of the town. There is no design or elevation of this new building, just a plan showing it is around 80 feet long. The new location may be less intrusive for visitors to the winery and conference centre, but it is far worse for walkers.

The plans also suggest the lane will be closed by a gate just beyond this point. Walkers presumably will be forced to take the rarely-used footpath (the actual right of way) which diverges north into a field.

When the plans were debated last year the applicant promised to safeguard the interests of walkers and ramblers who wanted to see the view. Now it looks as if this super-rich Qatari banker is quietly trying to privatise the finest view of Shrewsbury.

Can I urge readers to check for themselves and comment. Go to the Shropshire Council planning website, and search for 17/00905/VAR Variation of Condition 2 - Proposed Winery And Visitor Centre At Hencote Farm Cross Hill Shrewsbury Shropshire SY4 3AA.

Ben Jephcott, Shrewsbury

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