Wem housing plan to go before councillors

A decision will be made next week on plans for 100 houses to be built on the outskirts of a north Shropshire town.

Plans for the Wem development
Plans for the Wem development

The proposals for a site off Lowe Hill Road in Wem went before Shropshire Council’s northern planning committee earlier this month, when councillors said they wanted to refuse the scheme but deferred a final decision on the advice of officers.

The application will be presented to the committee again at a meeting on Tuesday, with officers holding firm on their recommendation that the plans should be approved.

Earlier proposals by the same developer, Metacre Ltd, were thrown out last year on the grounds that they would lead to significant visual and biodiversity harm.

At a meeting on October 5, officers said the revised plans addressed the previous reasons for refusal. But councillors said they remained concerned that part of the proposed site was outside the town’s development boundary in open countryside.

Metacre says it is necessary to bring in the extra land as a gas pipe and existing trees make parts of the allocated site unsuitable for development.

Planning officer Philip Mullineux, in a report to next week's meeting says: "The delivery of this site is crucial to the delivery of housing supply in Wem in the period to 2026 and implications in relation to the five-year land supply.

“This site is the major housing development site for Wem in accordance with the local plan.

“With concerns about development and impacts, density will need to be low, with significant landscape mitigation, to integrate the development into the surrounding landscape in a satisfactory manner.

“Also a material consideration, is the policy requirement for 100 dwellings and the constraints of the site.”

The report says many of the concerns raised by councillors at the previous meeting can be addressed when a reserved matters application comes forward, rather than at the current outline stage.

If approval is granted, the development will be accessed via a new junction off Lowe Hill Road, between the junction with Pyms Road and the entrance to Thomas Adams School.

Ten of the properties would be ‘affordable homes’, while the proposals also include public open space and a site for community use.

If approval is granted, the developer will make a contribution of more than £600,000 towards local infrastructure improvements.

Wem Town Council and 20 members of the public objected to the plans, citing the encroachment into open countryside as well as concerns over flooding, ecology, traffic and road safety.

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