Housing plans for Shrewsbury woodland rejected

Plans for 28 houses to be built on an area of ancient Shrewsbury woodland have been rejected.

Lion Coppice. Image: Google
Lion Coppice. Image: Google

Shropshire Council planning officers said the proposals for Lion Coppice in the Battlefield area of Shrewsbury would lead to a loss of “irreplaceable habitat”.

It was also considered that the development would cause harm to the setting of the nearby registered battlefield, which was the site of the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403.

The plans, put forward by J and H Towers, were a re-submission of a previous application for 41 homes which was withdrawn after being branded “ecological vandalism” by objectors.

The applicants said further work had been done to produce “a more modest scheme”, thereby “ensuring no such unacceptable adverse impacts”.

But the revised proposals failed to win over planning officers, who refused the application after hearing objections from the council’s ecology, trees and conservation teams.

The trees officer said: “This application fails to deliver on the expectations set out in local and national planning policies for sustainable design and the natural environment/landscape (in particular trees and woodland) that aspire to protect, restore and enhance these features with an overall expectation for net gain.

“The site includes 1.7 hectares of ancient semi natural woodland known as Lions Coppice and is one of the largest left in Shrewsbury and therefore classed as an irreplaceable habitat.”

Protected

The officer said the woodland was “important at a regional level” and was also protected by a tree preservation order from 1979.

They added: “The site as a whole has a combination of woodland, grassland and hedgerow and forms an important accumulation of habitats, as well as an important environmental corridor.

“Development of the site will inevitably lead to habitat fragmentation and increased pressures, inadvertent, recreational and anti social such as garden waste tipping.”

Objections were also received from Shrewsbury Town Council, Shrewsbury Civic Society, Battlefield councillor Dean Carroll and 19 members of the public.

A report by planning officer Philip Mullineux says: “It is considered that development as proposed could offer a range of dwellings.

“However the application raises significant concerns, to which it is considered that it is questionable as to whether these concerns can be overcome in this specific location owing to the biodiversity and green corridor that the site forms part of.

“Also of concern is the impact on the historic setting and the registered battlefield.

“Landscape and visual impacts are considered a significant concern in relation to biodiversity issues and in particular in relation to landscape impacts and damage to ecological and biodiversity connectivity that act as a green corridor.

“Also of concern is insufficient information in relation to highway and transportation matters.

“On balance with consideration to all the material considerations, whilst it is accepted that the proposed development is located within the recognised development boundary of the town, the application cannot gain officer support and is therefore recommended for refusal.”

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