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Campaigners fighting against Shropshire Hills homes plan need £4,000 legal fees

By Charlotte Bentley | Craven Arms | Environment | Published:

A fundraising campaign has been launched by a group aiming to stop 70 homes from being built in the Shropshire Hills.

The Shropshire Hills with Church Stretton in the distance

The Save Snatchfield Group was created to protect ancient meadowland, in Church Stretton, from development.

Members want to prevent houses being built on the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as part of Shropshire Council’s Local Plan.

The group hopes to raise £4,000 for legal and professional advice to combat the council’s plans for developers to build 70 houses on Snatchfield Farm, an ancient meadow.

Shropshire Council’s Local Plan was recently pushed back to allow for more consultation time, which will now end on September 30.

The Save Snatchfield Group urged the council to use the time to rethink plans and create a separate plan for Shropshire Hills AONB to protect the landscape from development.

It wants the council to use brownfield sites instead of areas in the AONB.

Graham Lewis, from the Save Snatchfield group, said they welcomed the consultation extension and hoped it would allow them to explore “better alternatives” than those presented in the current plans.

The money raised from the new campaign will aim to protect the meadow, which has the nationally-known Jack Mytton Way running through it, from development.

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The walk and the land are enjoyed by locals and are considered the last remaining ‘green finger of land’ in the area.

Impact

A spokesman for the Save Snatchfield Group added: “The site has been refused planning seven times, once on appeal to the Department of Environment and Transport.

“The inspector at this time quoted in his report, ‘These objections include the location of a site within an area of outstanding natural beauty.

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“'In this particular case, therefore, the most important issue is the impact the proposed development would have on the natural beauty of the landscape, which forms Church Stretton’s setting.'

“In another quote, it adds, ‘Development of this gap would lead to a significant change in the balance between buildings and open space resulting in an extensive suburban area out of keeping with the hilly rural setting of the village’.

“'The development would therefore be detrimental to the landscape area of outstanding natural beauty.'”

Group member Patrick Wood said unless the national policy or material circumstances had changed, “surely the appeal should still stand?".

The latest government-wide paper on planning states an AONB “must be protected”.

Visit www.savesnatchfield.org for more information about the group and visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/savesnatchfield to donate.

Charlotte Bentley

By Charlotte Bentley
Community Reporter - @CharlotteB_Star

Community Reporter at the Shropshire Star, helping under-represented communities to find a voice in Shropshire and Mid Wales. Contact me at charlotte.bentley@shropshirestar.co.uk.

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