Defeated Shropshire pylons plans are revived

Controversial plans to build 13 miles of pylons across some of Shropshire's most beautiful countryside were revived today, three years after being defeated following a mass protest.

Defeated Shropshire pylons plans are revived

Controversial plans to build 13 miles of pylons across some of Shropshire's most beautiful countryside were revived today, three years after being defeated following a mass protest.

Power giant SP Manweb wants to build the pylons from Oswestry to Wrexham as part of a £13 million plan to upgrade its supplies.

And it says its new plans use shorter pylons spaced further apart than the 2009 scheme.

The scheme was scrapped three years ago following major concerns from residents that it would destroy views over the Llangollen Canal and areas of open countryside.

In 2009, Shropshire Cou-ncil planners unanimously rejected the proposals and residents in St Martins, near Oswestry, also voted against the plans in a referendum.

But now new plans have been submitted by SP Manweb and the council's cabinet has agreed for officers to reassess the scheme.

The revised proposals use 13 metre (42.6ft) poles with three conductors as opposed to 16 metre pylons in the original plans. The company says the new pylons are based on a 'trident' design and they will be put further apart, with a maximum span of 150 metres (164 yards).

The power line will skirt to the east of St Martins and east and south of Gobowen, before reaching Park Hall on the edge of Oswestry.

Councillor Steve Charmley, portfolio holder for planning enforcement, said the revised submission appeared 'more visually acceptable'.

Shropshire councillor Mal Price, portfolio holder for strategic planning, said: "There are some significant changes from the original plan and we will go out and review it with the local councillors involved."

A report to the council's cabinet says that SP Manweb 'carried out extensive consultation before deciding on their chosen route which, as far as possible, avoids sensitive areas'.

The company says the line would guarantee electricity supplies to 80,000 homes and business in Wrexham, Shropshire and Powys.

A spokesman for SP Manweb's parent company ScottishPower said: "The dem- and for electricity in Oswes-try and surrounding areas has increased in recent years, as new houses have been built and new businesses have opened. The extra strain on the electricity network means that this reinforcement is essential."

By David Seadon

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