British Ironwork Centre plans look set to get go-ahead
Retrospective plans for Oswestry's British Ironwork Centre have been recommended for approval, bringing a years-long saga one step closer to an end.
The tourist attraction, which brings £4 million to the economy, applied retrospectively for the extension and alterations to existing lawful buildings to include improvements to an existing access and change of use of land to formalise the sculpture park on part of the site.
Shropshire Council’s planning chiefs have now recommended that the North Planning Committee delegates the application to the planning services manager for approval as long as a series of conditions are adhered to.
These include completing safety changes to the A5 entrance within 12 months and submitting an event management plan to the council within six months.
A previous application, which included future aspirations for the site, off the A5, was withdrawn after two years of talks.
As part of the planning application, the centre has already outlined proposals to manage traffic on busy event days.
The centre has put forward plans for changes to the access off the A5 trunk road, with the creation of a visibility splay.
In his report to the committee Philip Mullineux, planning case officer, said: “The application under consideration is clearly large scale consisting of a variety of different class uses, some of which can be considered more appropriate to a town centre location, (A1 – retailing).
“While it makes use of a former farmstead and some of its surrounding farmland, it is not a diversification of the former working farm, as the former farmstead is solely in use in connection to the business operated and known as The British Ironworks.
“Clearly this does result in some conflicts with local plan policies, and as such the overall sustainability of the proposed use, and in particular landscape and visual impact along with degree of uses more associated with a town or key centre.”
He added: “Highways England as the statutory consultee in relation to the trunk road network have responded to the application recommending that a number of planning conditions be imposed in the interests of maintaining highway safety and the efficient operation of the A5.
“The response acknowledges that the applicants have submitted an Events Traffic Management Plan and Parking Management Strategy that will relate to the discharge of two of their recommended conditions and that following a review of these and further clarification from the applicants that they are content that development on site is suitable subject to conditions attached to any approval notice subsequently issued.
“However with consideration to the site’s planning history and potential traffic issues arising from the development, Highways England considers it will be necessary that events are subject to periodic review as circumstances regarding operation of the site and traffic on the A5 past the site access are likely to be subject to change over time. “
But he added that the application went along with many policies.
He said: “Taking into consideration the significant material considerations as discussed in this report, with appropriate and suitably worded conditions the development is in accordance with many of the local plan policies.
“Furthermore, on balance any material harm in relation to aspects of the development that do not accord with the relevant local plan policies is outweighed by the material considerations and economic and social benefits associated with the development on site.
“As such with careful consideration to all the material considerations both for and against, it is recommended that this application be approved subject to the conditions as outlined.”
Mr Mullineux said the conditions imposed include the highways works to the A5 entrance are completed within 12 months and an event management plan is submitted to the council within six months.
A previous economic impact report said the centre was worth £4 million to the economy.
The committee will meet to discuss the plans on April 30 at 2pm at Shirehall.
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