£9 million Shrewsbury JLR showroom finally gets the go-ahead
A £9 million Jaguar Land Rover showroom will be built on the outskirts of Shrewsbury after planning permission was finally granted.
Two years on from when the company first earmarked the site, the application sailed through a Shropshire Council planning meeting in a matter of minutes.
The major development was approved along with a linked application for a petrol station and drive through cafe along with outline planning for office space.
The applicants claim developing the site, close to Shrewsbury Business Park, will make significant economic contribution to the area.
Gareth Williams, managing director of Hatfields, which owns the town’s JLR franchise, told the committee 20 to 30 new jobs would be created immediately and, “we don’t know how big the business may become”.
Councillors voted to approve the application with seven in favour and three abstentions.
Much more contentious was the separate hybrid proposal by Monte Blackburn Ltd for the remainder of the site, which lies between the A5 and the B4380 Thieves Lane.
Concerns were raised over the potential increase in traffic down Thieves Lane to Emstrey Island, where it is the only entrance without traffic lights to allow for easy access onto the roundabout. Despite this, Highways England had deemed there would not be “unacceptable” levels of traffic.
Councillor Ed Potter said companies on the business park were already having to stagger staff’s finishing times to minimise congestion and this would only worsen if the proposals were given the go-ahead.
Others agreed but Councillor Nick Hignett said: “We have got no option but to allow this development and allow the traffic problems to occur, then show Highways England how bad it is."
Local member Councillor Claire Wild also spoke at the meeting to criticise the plans, saying the increase in vehicles would see Thieves Lane “absolutely rammed”.
She added: “It is a shame that this really is the entrance to a beautiful, historic county town and the design is off the shelf.”
The committee was deadlocked with three votes against three in favour of the scheme, with four abstentions. Chairman Councillor Ted Clarke, who initially abstained, cast the deciding vote to pass the plans.