£45 million Oswestry Innovation Park's first phase approved

Planning approval has been granted for the first phase of Oswestry's £45 million Innovation Park.

How the Oswestry Innovation Park could look
How the Oswestry Innovation Park could look

The development - which Shropshire Council has described as one of its “most exciting projects” – was backed unanimously by the council’s northern planning committee at a meeting this afternoon, with members hailing the huge economic boost they said it would bring to the town.

The ‘hybrid’ application sought full permission for the spine road and supporting infrastructure, and outline permission for a hotel and 21 business units – the details of which will be subject to later applications.

It is hoped that 1,300 jobs will be created on the new park, next to Mile End roundabout, by the time it is fully occupied in around three years.

Planning officer Philip Mullineux told councillors the scheme would have a “significant” economic impact on the area, and recommended it be approved.

He added that Oswestry Town Council supported the plans but Oswestry Rural Parish Council had objected, fearing it could take trade away from existing businesses nearby.

Councillor Joyce Barrow, who represents St Oswald division, urged the committee to grant approval for the scheme.

She said: “I’m in total agreement with Oswestry Town Council on this and not my rural parish council.

“It will bring huge economic benefits to the town and much-needed jobs.

“No resident has raised any objection or concern with me over this application.”

Councillor Vince Hunt, who now represents Llanymynech, said the project had been on the cards for many years.

“The sooner we get on and get the ground cut, the better," he said.

“I welcome this, we need it in Oswestry, so I’m going to propose that we accept the officer’s recommendation.”

This was seconded by Councillor Mike Isherwood, who represents Oswestry West and also sits on the town council.

Councillor Isherwood said: “I am satisfied that the habitat and biodiversity concerns that might have been present in a development of this sort have been addressed very well.

“I think it would be almost sadistic for the committee not to agree with this planning application.

“Oswestry does need these jobs, it’s in danger of becoming a dormitory town where everyone has to travel away to find a decent job.

“This is just what Oswestry needs and I think it’s being developed in a very responsible way.”

Councillor Mark Jones, who represents Gobowen, Selattyn and Weston Rhyn and is current mayor of Oswestry, added: “These are exciting times for Oswestry.

“I would slightly disagree about Oswestry becoming a dormitory town, we have a lot of thriving businesses and this would add another section to that.”

Members voted unanimously to grant permission.

Welcoming the committee’s decision, Councillor Ed Potter, portfolio holder for economic growth and planning, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news and one of the most exciting projects in the whole county, which will bring hundreds of new jobs and some new businesses to Oswestry.

“It is a major step forward for our plans.

“We are determined to put the county’s economy first and this is a huge leap in the right direction, attracting new highly-skilled employment opportunities and modern, forward-thinking businesses.

“There is also the potential during the construction phase to support local people to access opportunities for training, apprenticeships and other education and skills opportunities.

“We cannot wait to get spades in the ground now and provide the county with this fantastic development.”

Work is currently under way at the site to construct a new secondary roundabout off Mile End which will provide access to the Innovation Park, and permission has also been granted for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the A5, linking the site to the town.

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