Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Church Stretton housing sites dropped from development plans

Controversial sites earmarked for development have been dropped from Shropshire Council’s new local plan.

The latest version of the plan, published today, sees land at Snatchfield Farm in Church Stretton and off Trefonen Road in Oswestry, removed from the list of potential housing sites.

Meanwhile a proposed site for 60 homes off Weston Rhyn’s High Street has been withdrawn in favour of an alternative site for the same number of properties off Trehowell Lane.

Land allocated for business growth near Battlefield Roundabout on the A5 to the north of Shrewsbury has also be dropped from the plan.

It comes as controversial proposals for a garden village in Bridgnorth and large-scale development in Shifnal will go ahead as previously outlined, according to Shropshire Council's new local plan.

The latest version of the document, published today, sees land in Tasley remaining the preferred option to deliver 1,050 homes and at least 16 hectares of employment land by 2038.

It also sees plans for the expansion of Shifnal, which include 1,500 homes and at least 16 hectares of employment land, remain unchanged.

Local plan's main developments

The plan includes development in:

  • Albrighton, where 500 dwellings and five hectares of employment land could be built

  • Bishop's Castle, where 150 dwellings and three hectares of employment land could be built

  • Bridgnorth, where 1,800 dwellings and 49 hectares of employment land could be built

  • Broseley, where 250 dwellings and a three-hectare business site could be built

  • Church Stretton, where 200 dwellings and two hectares of employment land were set to be built before 70 homes at Snatchfields Farm were withdrawn

  • Cleobury Mortimer, where 200 dwellings and two hectares of business land could be built

  • Craven Arms, where 500 dwellings and 15 hectares of employment land could be built

  • Ellesmere, where 800 dwellings and nine hectares of employment land could be built

  • Highley, where 250 dwellings and three hectares of employment land could be built

  • Ludlow, where 1,000 dwellings and 11 hectares of employment land could be built

  • Market Drayton, where 1,200 dwellings and 35 hectares of employment land could be built

  • Minsterley and Pontesbury, where 155 and 175 dwellings could be built respectively

  • Much Wenlock, where 200 dwellings and two hectares of employment land could be built

  • Oswestry, where 1,900 dwellings and 57 hectares of employment land were set to be built before 30 dwellings on land at Trefonen Road were withdrawn

  • Shifnal, where 1,500 dwellings and 41 hectares of employment land could be built

  • Shrewsbury, where 8,625 dwellings and 100 hectares of employment land were set to be built before nine hectares of employment land near Battlefield Roundabout were withdrawn

  • Wem, where 600 dwellings and six hectares of business land could be built

  • Whitchurch, where 1,600 dwellings and 20 hectares of business land could be built

  • Clive Barracks, Tern Hill, where 750 dwellings and six hectares of employment land could be built.

  • Former Ironbridge Power Station, where 1,000 dwellings and six hectares of employment land could be built

  • RAF Cosford, which is set to expand with Ministry of Defence facilities and a Midlands Air Ambulance HQ being built on 221 hectares of surrounding land

The new ‘regulation 19’ draft of the plan, which sets out where housing and economic development will be focussed across the county until 2038, is expected to be signed off by the authority’s cabinet on December 7 and will then go out to another round of public consultation for seven weeks.

Eddie West, principal planning policy officer, said the changes to site allocations had been made to reflect some of the concerns raised in the 2,600 responses to the previous stage of consultation over the summer.

Mr West said: “For Church Stretton and Oswestry, both of those parcels of land received quite significant levels of objection.

“We don’t only look at levels of objection, we look at the comments made – it’s not a referendum.

“In Church Stretton and Oswestry we have looked again at our site assessments process and we feel it’s appropriate that those sites can be removed from the plan.”

The Snatchfield Farm site had been the only major housing site allocated in the Church Stretton ‘place plan area’, one of 18 covering the whole county, but Mr West said the authority was "confident" its housing target for that area could be met through smaller, more sensitive developments.

Aspirational

He said: “In allocating land somewhere like Church Stretton, where it sits in the Shropshire Hills AONB, national policy sets the bar higher with regard to releasing land for significant housing development in those areas.

“On the back of consultation responses and having reassessed, we feel as though we can meet the target in the town over the plan period.”

On Weston Rhyn, Mr West said: “We are proposing to change the site proposal to one we believe is a better option and we believe will be more supported by the parish council.”

The council is now also proposing to accept 30 hectares of employment land need from the Association of Black Country Authorities (ABCA), having already agreed to take on 1,500 houses to help ABCA achieve its housing targets.

Mr West said this was partly down to the council’s legal ‘duty to cooperate’ with neighbouring authorities, as well as the fact Shropshire had already set targets for housing and employment which were above the minimum required.

He said: “We feel because the council has set a very aspirational agenda around economic growth we can accommodate a part of their unmet employment land need in the same way we can accommodate part of their housing need.”

The local plan sets out the council’s ambitions to see more than 30,000 properties built in the county over the plan period, of which 25 per cent are to be ‘affordable’ homes.

It includes ‘strategic sites’ at the former Ironbridge Power Station, Tern Hill Barracks and RAF Cosford.

Following the next consultation round, the plan will need to be signed off by the full council before being submitted for government examination. It is expected to be adopted in early 2022.

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