Appeal to build new homes in Wem thrown out
An appeal to build up to 37 homes in a market town has been thrown out by a government planning inspector.
Developers have failed in their attempt to get the inspector to overturn Shropshire Council’s decision to throw out the scheme to create the homes at the junction with Church Lane and Soulton Road in Wem.
It follows a hearing held last year where all parties were allowed to state their case before a final decision was made.
Inspector Jon Hockley said: "The main issue in this case is whether the proposed development would provide a suitable site for housing, having regard to the character and appearance of the area and the development plan.
"The houses orientated to and overlooking the site from Church Lane provide a well defined edge to the town which would be significantly and adversely altered by the proposal, causing substantial harm to the character and appearance of the area.
"Whilst the proposal would provide economic and social benefits, the substantial environmental effects of the scheme on the character and appearance of the area means that the proposal overall does not represent sustainable development."
The unitary authority, which used delegated powers to originally turn down the scheme, said the development would not be sustainable and raised concerns about the location.
The council received more than 15 letters of objection from residents who raised concerns about potential flooding and the extra strain it would put on the town’s notorious level crossing.
Wem Rural Parish Council and Wem Civic Society also objected to the proposal.
The proposed scheme would have involved creating a mix of three and four-bedroom homes on the site, including three which would be affordable.
A ‘statement of case’ on behalf of the applicant said the site lies in a sustainable location which is highly accessible to local services and facilities.
“In our professional opinion the proposed development comprises such a balance, occupying a sustainable location which is highly accessible to services and facilities, including employment opportunities, and is well served by sustainable modes of transport,” the statement said.
“As such it represents a sustainably located site. The site also represents an opportunity to make an important contribution to the council’s supply of housing.”