Housing plan for bowling green set to be approved despite objections

Plans to build houses and supported living flats on the site of a bowling green and sports club are set to be approved.

How the development could look
How the development could look

Under plans set to go before Shropshire Council’s northern planning committee next week, the former Sports and Social Club in Albert Road, Shrewsbury, would be bulldozed to make way for 12 affordable homes and a block of 14 apartments.

Despite receiving more than 100 objections to the proposals, planning officers say approval should be granted on condition that the developer pays £150,000 for a replacement bowling green at Sundorne Sports Village.

Planning permission was granted for the new bowling green last year, and Bromford Housing Group later lodged its plans for the Albert Road site. The sports club closed its doors in 2015.

The housing association says the development will provide accommodation for adults with long-term support needs in the ‘MyPlace’ block, which will also include a community hub and a shared garden for residents.

However no open space is proposed for the residents of the 12 affordable homes, which council officers say is acceptable on condition that the applicant makes a £60,000 contribution towards off-site open space provision.

People living nearby have objected to the scheme, saying it will add to existing parking problems on a narrow and congested street. Shrewsbury Town Council, Shropshire Playing Fields Association (SPFA), Sport England and local councillors have also objected.

SPFA said no evidence had been provided to justify the loss of the facilities, in line with national planning policy, and that not enough information had been offered around the future management and maintenance arrangements for the new facility at the sports village.

The association also pointed out that the proposed site for the new bowling green is already public recreation land, and it would therefore be “entirely wrong” to view this as a gain.

The town council said: “This development will have a large impact on neighbouring properties and will increase traffic greatly in this area.

“Albert Road is already a narrow road with a lot of traffic on a daily basis with roads already being congested. It is an over development in that area due to the amount of properties they propose to build.”

Battlefield councillor Dean Carroll said is was “unacceptable” that the plans did not include any open space.

He said: “By trying to cram this volume of properties onto a very small site any consideration for the quality of life of future residents of these properties as well as the existing residents of the neighbourhood has been ignored.”

Despite these concerns, a report to the committee by planning officer Jane Raymond says the development should be approved.

It says: “It is considered that adequate off-road parking for the proposed housing and ‘MyPlace’ proposal will be provided.

“The increased amount of additional traffic arising from the proposal would not significantly compromise highway safety along Albert Road and in the surrounding area, and would not have a severe harm on the surrounding highway network.

“The shared amenity space for the ‘MyPlace’ scheme and the private gardens for the proposed dwellings will provide more than adequate open space provision for future residents and there is access to existing recreational facilities and public open space within reasonable walking distance of the site.

“Subject to agreement by all parties on the exact wording of the [legal agreement] and relevant planning conditions, a replacement bowling green will be secured, and it is considered that the proposal would not result in the loss of recreation and sports facilities or prejudice the use of the adjacent cricket ground/playing field.”

The northern planning committee will meet next Tuesday to decide the application.

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