Campaign calls for support to oppose housing plans near Market Drayton

Supporters who rallied to fight off plans for 97 homes on a town's green space are being urged to get behind a new campaign against plans for 100 houses on a different site.

Indicative plans show how the development could take shape.
Indicative plans show how the development could take shape.

Gladman Developments has unveiled plans to develop an area of land at Longford Turning to the north of Market Drayton, which is currently outside the development boundary and in ‘open countryside’ in planning terms.

The site is, however, proposed to be allocated for housing in Shropshire Council’s new local plan, which is expected to be adopted next year.

It lies less than half a mile from Damson Wood Walk, which was subject to controversial plans for a large-scale housing development lodged with the council late last year.

That scheme was withdrawn in March after hundreds of Market Drayton residents backed a campaign against it, which included securing a tree preservation order on the woodland and having the area listed as an asset of community value.

Elliott Powell, who co-founded the campaign, has now started a new group to protest against the latest set of plans, which he said had already caused “uproar” in the community.

He said: “There are many reasons why we are against the development.

“The Market Drayton infrastructure is extremely poor and doesn’t support the already existing community.

“Doctors appointments are really hard to get, with the current healthcare and GP surgery struggling to meet demand.

“We also have a lack of NHS dentists in the area, seeing many people taking appointments out of the area.

“Lack of schools in the area means many children are now being educated outside of the town.

“Market Drayton Junior School recently built an extension due to the demand in pupils. Where are the children going to go if the housing development is approved?

“Our playgrounds and facilities in Market Drayton have also been neglected for many years.

“The outdoor swimming pool which closed in 2016 sees many local residents visiting nearby Nantwich to use their outdoor facility.

“The children’s play parks around the town are also outdated, broken and dangerous.

“There is nothing for the younger generation to do because money isn’t being spent wisely or carefully in the right places.

“We are just approving these new builds without improving our town.”

Mr Powell said people were concerned that more and more housing schemes were coming forward for currently undeveloped land, at a time open spaces had proven more valuable than ever.

The proposed development site lies outside the town council boundary in Moreton Say parish, and Mr Powell is hoping both the town and parish councils will oppose the plans.

A boundary review currently being undertaken by Shropshire Council could see Market Drayton’s boundary extended to take in development land to the north of the bypass, but Mr Powell said many residents did not support the move to further expand the town.

He added: “We shouldn’t be agreeing to more homes when other issues should be fixed first.

“New homes are expensive, built poorly and do not take into consideration the environment. We will continue our fight to save this beautiful area from development.”

Anyone wishing to support the campaign can do so at facebook.com/protectourcountryside.

The planning application has so far attracted 18 objections from members of the public and one letter of support.

If approved, the development will be accessed via a new junction off Longford Turning and will include public open space, a children’s play area, pedestrian and cycle paths and 10 affordable homes.

Supporting documents from Gladman Developments say: “It would contribute towards economic growth and have wider social benefits to the local community, meeting a range of housing requirements, including affordable housing.”

If outline permission is granted, a further application will need to be submitted setting out the layout of the development, landscaping and design of the properties.

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