Plans for 100 homes in north Shropshire refused again - but scheme could still go ahead

Plans for 100 houses to be build on the outskirts of a north Shropshire town have been rejected for a second time.

How the development could take shape
How the development could take shape

Shropshire Council’s northern planning committee narrowly voted to refuse permission for a site off Lowe Hill Road in Wem to be developed, following the refusal of similar plans last year.

But the scheme could still go ahead under the original application, after the developer, Metacre Ltd, appealed the council’s initial refusal. A hearing is scheduled for next week.

The planning committee came close to throwing out the revised application at a meeting last month, but deferred a final decision on the advice of officers.

When they met again this week, the majority of councillors said they still did not support the scheme.

Planning officers said the original scheme put forward last year would lead to “significant visual and biodiversity harm”, but told the committee that the developer had addressed their concerns in the revised proposals.

They recommended outline permission be granted, but councillors said they did not agree with the company’s proposal to build outside the town’s development boundary.

While the majority of the site is allocated for 100 houses in the council’s current development plan, Metacre says it is necessary to bring in extra land as a gas pipe and existing trees make parts of the allocated site unsuitable for building on.

The town’s deputy mayor Geoff Soul addressed the committee on behalf of the town council, which had objected to the plans.

He said: “The planning boundary must be sacrosanct and kept. We didn’t put it there for nothing.

“I don’t disagree with development on this site, I believe other issues can be resolved, but we can’t break this fundamental principle.”

Wem councillor Edward Towers also spoke against the application, saying: “We need the right development on this allocated site, one that doesn’t break boundary principles.”

Adrea Caplan, planning associate at Savills, agent to the developer, told the committee that delivery of 100 houses on the site was “crucial” in order for the town to meet its future housing needs.

Some members of the committee agreed and said they were in favour of the application, including Councillor Vince Hunt.

Proposing approval, he said he would not be happy to see homes built on the land outside the development boundary but would support it being brought into the site for community use.

However the proposal was not carried, with four votes for and five against.

Councillor David Vasmer then proposed refusal of the scheme, saying it would “set a precedent”.

He said: “I don’t think anybody is against development of the land that has been allocated for development.

“I think it’s very important that we respect the boundaries that we have in our local plan.

“I don’t think we should be changing them at the whim of a developer, and I think this application could, in my view, result in other developers putting forward proposals for extensions of the sites they are interested in.”

Councillor Vasmer’s motion passed with five votes to four.

The plans included a proposed access junction off Lowe Hill Road, between the junction with Pyms Road and the entrance to Thomas Adams School.

The developer had pledged a contribution of more than £600,000 towards local infrastructure improvements, 10 ‘affordable homes’ and public open space.

A mini roundabout would also have been created at the junction between Lowe Hill Road and the B5063 Ellesmere Road to the south of the entrance to the site.

The appeal hearing over the original plans is scheduled to take place in Oswestry on Tuesday.

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News