Consortium wants detail on Shropshire garden village consultation

A consortium which has seen its proposal for a garden village dropped by Shropshire Council says it is unhappy at the basis of an upcoming consultation.

An artist's impression of a local centre included in the Stanmore proposal
An artist's impression of a local centre included in the Stanmore proposal

Stanmore Properties has been critical of Shropshire Council’s decision to switch support from its green belt proposal for a garden village in Bridgnorth, to one put forward by Taylor Wimpey at Tasley on the other side of the town.

Council officers made the recommendation before the authority's cabinet approved a consultation on the local plan proposals last week. The local plan sets out locations of the county where 30,800 homes will be built up until 2038.

The decision to switch to the Tasley proposal has attracted significant criticism from Bridgnorth councillors, although the consultation does not provide an alternative option for the public to support, and instead only allows them to give their thoughts on Taylor Wimpey’s plan.

The Stanmore Consortium, which includes Stanmore Properties and the Apley Estate, said people should be given different options as part of the consultation.

It comes after Lord Gavin Hamilton, who owns the Apley Estate, expressed “disappointment” at what he described as the “last minute switch”.

David MacMullen, of Stanmore Properties, said: “Stanmore Properties and the Apley Estate, the partners in the Stanmore Consortium welcome the decision by Shropshire Council to undertake further consultation on its draft local plan.

“We understand that this is largely due to the significant backlash from local elected members and Bridgnorth Town Council against the proposals for up to 1,700 houses at Tasley. "

He added: "It must involve a detailed consultation on the Tasley proposals which local council members, Bridgnorth Town Council and both Tasley and Morville Parish Councils have all objected to."

Mr MacMullen said people should have a choice of different options.

He said: “Shropshire Council has to make people aware during the consultation that there are options different to those contained in the local plan proposed at cabinet.

"If they don’t, there is no point in the consultation and its soundness could be called into question which would further delay matters. Local elected representatives have roundly rejected the Tasley site in favour of Stanmore and surely this must be taken into consideration.”

Campaigners from Save Bridgnorth Greenbelt, which has opposed the Stanmore plan since the outset of the local plan process, have said the overall plans for either Tasley or Stanmore are unsuitable for the town, with the scale of development planned being unnecessary.

The group has also pledged to fight the inclusion of Stanmore green belt land in the plan in court.

Shropshire Council has confirmed that the consultation will begin on August 3, and will close on September 30.

There will be no council organised physical consultation events due to the pandemic, and people are encouraged to respond online, but physical copies of the plan will be available at a number of local libraries, including Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Oswestry, Bishops Castle, Bridgnorth, Broseley, Church Stretton, Cleobury Mortimer, Ellesmere, Market Drayton Shifnal and Whitchurch. Appointments are required to view the plan.

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