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Three new schools included in huge housing plan near M54

By Dominic Robertson | Shifnal | Education | Published:

Two primary schools and a secondary school are included in controversial plans for thousands of homes on green belt land.

Bradford Estates, the organisation behind the proposals for what would effectively be a new town near Tong, off junction three of the M54, have revealed more details of their "emerging masterplan" for the site.

The plan, which includes 3,000 homes and 50 hectares of employment land, is currently the subject of a consultation by Shropshire Council.

Because the development would be built on green belt land, Shropshire Council would have to argue "exceptional circumstances" to be allowed to approve the scheme.

When the council agreed to proceed with consulting on the plans it emerged that part of the reasoning behind the proposal was to help the Black Country Authorities meet a shortfall of space for housing and employment land.

In a brochure outlining its plans the Bradford Estates say that its scheme is centred around the idea of a new business area, which would be the closest part of the development to the M54.

Potential

The organisation said: "The core of the proposal is the establishment of a strategic employment area. Around 50 hectares of land (the equivalent of 50 rugby union pitches) is available to accommodate enterprises at a range of scales, to be anchored by a hub for training and skills development and incubating fledgling businesses.

"This focal area of new industry will be supported by new residential neighbourhoods, creating the potential for people to live and work close by. These neighbourhoods will grow organically, as the business, social and community infrastructure develops. Over time around 3,000 new homes may be provided with each neighbourhood linked by convenient means, including green routes for walking and cycling."

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The proposals have already met with strong opposition from residents of Tong and nearby Shifnal, which is also the focus of separate large scale development plans.

The brochure from the Bradford Estates makes its case for the development by suggesting the location of the land makes it ideal for supporting Shropshire Council's economic plans for the county.

Opportunities

It states: "Shropshire Council’s Economic Growth Strategy aspires to achieve a step change in Shropshire’s economy, supporting higher value jobs and better wage levels. It seeks to retain and develop skills in the county, for example by enhancing technical education and by offering alternatives to a ‘brain drain’ where young people grow up locally but then settle away from their home communities.

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"Junction 3 recognises that Shropshire is a great place to live and can provide new employment opportunities and careers to match.

"Land at Junction 3, principally by reason of its prime location and the availability of suitable land, can help support this strategy by capturing economic growth that might not otherwise be accommodated in the county.

"A high-quality working environment is proposed, attractive to companies in key sectors identified within the Economic Growth Strategy for Shropshire, including, but not limited to, engineering, advanced manufacturing, aviation and environmental technologies. Junction 3 can create an employment hub to enable businesses of various sizes to settle and grow in an environment which is of premier quality.

"Skills development will be central to Junction 3. Bradford Estates will partner nearby further and higher education establishments by providing a flagship training and business start-up centre at Junction 3. This will support staff development and the workspace needs of new and growing companies. It will also offer courses for local residents seeking to advance their careers."

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