Battle over plan for Ellesmere homes is over

A lengthy planning row which saw councillors and residents fighting plans for 68 homes in a Shropshire town is over after an appeal was thrown out.

Campaigners in Ellesmere, including residents and town councillors, are celebrating today after fighting for more than three years against the proposal to build 68 homes on a housing estate just off Teal Drive in Ellesmere.

Government planning inspector David Cullingford has now dismissed the plans to build the homes after the scheme went to an appeal.

The planning row has been a lengthy process which has been discussed in the High Court and by numerous planning inspectors.

The plans were first turned down by Shropshire Council in 2015 – but the decision was overturned by an inspector after the applicant appealed the decision over claims the council did not yet have a five-year housing supply.

The local authority then appealed against the Government, taking the battle to the High Court where Mrs Justice Lang confirmed that the planning inspector’s ruling was unlawful.

A new inquiry by a Government planning inspector was ordered in order to make a final decision. That decision has now been decided by Mr Cullingford.

Mr Cullingford said: “I dismiss this appeal. I have found that this scheme would be seen to intrude noticeably into the countryside beyond the town. It would thus cause some environmental damage.

“I consider that the social and economic benefits of the scheme would not be sufficiently compelling to warrant the damaging effects of the proposal.

“The proposal would also undermine the strategy and the plan-led approach to development at Ellesmere since sufficient sites have been identified to deliver the housing required over the next six years and there is every prospect of delivering that.

“In the contrary, evidence shows that Ellesmere is likely to exceed its housing target by 15 per cent.”

Councillors and residents said the development would add to traffic problems, and the town had more than adequate housing provision in its preferred option sites including Hawthorn Drive, the Railway Yard and the Wharf development.

Ellesmere resident Paul Goulbourne said it was very good news and hailed the work of the town council, Shropshire Council and protesters. Steve Davenport, Shropshire councillor for St Martin’s commented: “Phew! This was a battle from the start.”

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