Astbury Hall: Call to scrap £50m 'holiday venue' plans at former home of ex-Judas Priest guitarist

Parish councillors are calling for planners to reject a £50 million scheme to create a "world class" holiday destination near Bridgnorth.

The planned main complex entrance at Astbury Hall
The planned main complex entrance at Astbury Hall

Eardington Parish Council has written to Shropshire Council's planning department to outline its concerns over plans to transform the Astbury Hall Estate, the former home of ex-Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing.

FCFM Group, which bought the premises earlier this year, plans to transform the estate, with golf, tennis, and spa facilities – along with nearly 300 wooden lodges on the surrounding land.

In a report submitted to Shropshire Council's planning department, the company said the development could create 120 jobs and put more than £3.5million into the local economy each year.

However, in a submission to planning officers, nearby Eardington Parish Council said it is worried about the impact the construction will have on local roads and traffic, and claims the plans are out of character and scale for the area.

How the holiday lodges would look under the plans

It says that the 822 extra two-way journeys on the B4555 every day as a result of the centre would have a significant effect on local residents.

"This will have a very significant and detrimental impact on local residents and the area’s visual amenity," it says.

In a transport impact statement submitted with its application, FCFM says the development would have a "negligible" impact on the number of cars using the road every day.

The council has also said it would not want to see any of the lodges on the site being used on a residential basis.

FCFM has said that the lodges are solely for residential use.

The parish council's submission said: "The parish council is seriously concerned that any occupancy restrictions limiting the use of the caravans to a holiday use only will not be rigorously enforced resulting in the proposed development turning into a residential park, which will be larger than either Eardington or Chelmarsh."

The Astbury Hall estate

FCFM has also mentioned the possibility of reopening the Eardington Halt Railway Station, which is part of the Severn Valley Railway, and using it as a way for visitors to arrive at the site.

However, Eardington Parish Council said it wants more firm information about the plans.

Its submission states: "The transport assessment presupposes that the volume of traffic will be mitigated by upgrading of the Eardington Halt railway station, which was originally designed for the loading of livestock. The design and access statement indicates a new station will be built.

"There is no indication on whether this proposal is either feasible or economically viable. Further, the masterplan does not show the ‘direct physical link’ to the Severn Valley Railway line referred to in the design and access statement."

KK Downing at Astbury Hall

The estate, which includes a top class 18-hole golf course, was owned by former Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing, but was put up for sale last year after four of his businesses went into administration.

The proposals have been submitted to Shropshire Council in three sections.

The first includes building a leisure and spa building, two swimming pools, a farm shop, a function room, restaurant and spa, an outdoor lido pool, tennis courts, bowling greens, a new nine-hole golf course and an 18-hole putting green.

The second and third applications are for 135 and 140 holiday let lodges around the 354 acre estate.

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