West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said communities could be “blighted for generations” after they are built because policing infrastructure is insufficient and the force was not consulted about road design and other issues.
He was responding to a question from Worfield councillor Michael Wood about how much input the police had had into the most recent draft of the Shropshire Local Plan, which is currently under consultation and will shape development in the area until 2038.
Cllr Wood is a member of the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel, which has members from throughout the force area and scrutinises Mr Campion’s work.
Cllr Wood said: “I think most of us are currently involved in the local plan for our counties, areas and districts and in Shropshire we are facing considerable number of additional dwellings – in excess of 30,000 between now and 2038.
“All the councillors responding to the consultation document are making the comment about roads and the way they are constructed.
“I know my particular area is going to want roundabouts, road construction, diversions, etc.”
The 307-page document was published a few hours after the meeting, ahead of being discussed by Shropshire’s cabinet on Monday, December 7.
Cllr Wood admitted he hadn’t yet read it at the time of the panel meeting, but said “I can’t readily say where the police are involved”.
Cllr Wood asked: “Do you have any opportunity to make any input into the local plan?
“I would like to think that, when I ask the questions to cabinet and council, that someone had taken the opportunity to speak with the West Mercia road safety team on what would be acceptable and what wouldn’t.”
Mr Campion said the police are consulted over the local plan and individual planning applications, but added: “I don’t think, from a strategic side, there is enough weight given to the need for policing in development."
He said: “Some parts of south Shropshire, as you know, have been unrecognisably changed through development and, indeed, will be changed again during the next decade, and I’m not sure the requirement for policing infrastructure is part of that is currently replicated in the way we not only make decisions but also allocate resources afterwards.
“Housebuilding will increase – we need more places to live – but there can’t be a blighted community for generations afterwards because they haven’t got the right infrastructure designed into them as they were developed.”