'Mockery of planning rules': Home builders 'jumping the gun', say villagers

Residents living near a site on which 340 homes could be built say work has got underway before conditions attached to the planning permission have been met.

Contractors on the land
Contractors on the land

Land clearance has begun at the site off Welshpool Road at Bicton Heath, on the edge of Shrewsbury, and villagers say a hedgerow has been taken up.

They have appealed to the developers, Barratt and David Wilson Homes, to wait to start work until all the conditions have been followed.

The company says it is working with the local authority to deliver the homes in what it hopes will be an attractive place to live. It says it wants to bring more affordable homes to the community.

Shropshire Council’s North Planning Committee voted in favour of Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes’ joint proposal to build the development, including 51 affordable homes, at Churncote, off Welshpool Road, last week, subject to conditions.

Land clearance at the new homes site

Some local people say they have been surprised that part of the site is already being worked on.

Mandie Lee, who lives in the area, said the work seemed to be in connection with the proposed sales office for the new estate.

"That has not even been granted planning permission yet," she said.

'Mockery'

"The application for the sales office has only just been lodged. It makes a mockery of the whole planning system with the application for the sales office not yet gone through."

"Where the hedge has been removed the pavement has also been blocked. This is right next to a bus stop, making it difficult for the passengers."

Plans for the development at Churncote

Mandie, who is also a Bicton parish councillor, said that when planning permission for the homes was given it was on the understanding that certain conditions had to be met.

"Work has to be undertaken to protect the trees on site. As we understand it that had not yet taken place," she added.

"The developers knew that local residents were against these plans and it seems disrespectful to begin the work prematurely."

When residents wrote to Shropshire Council about the work they received a letter in reply, which states that verbal advice has been given to cease work on site as well as well as formal advice given to the planning consultants.

Dominic Harman, managing director at David Wilson Homes Mercia, said: “In order to increase the delivery of much-needed homes in-line with the Government’s ambitions, we submitted a revised scheme to accelerate construction which was accepted on June 8.

“We have worked closely with the local authority since submitting the revised planning scheme, with the aim to bring more affordable homes to the community as well as keeping the newly formed pond intact.

“We will continue to engage with Shropshire Council on how best to deliver the new homes in what we hope will be an attractive place to live.”

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