Shrewsbury Town Council’s members will meet next week to consider a proposal to begin judicial review proceedings against the Planning Inspectorate and Shropshire Council, following approval of 182 extra care units and a 75-bed care home at the Hencote estate off Ellesmere Road.
Shropshire Council’s northern planning committee rejected the scheme last April on the grounds that the site lies outside the town’s development boundary in open countryside, but this decision was overturned by an inspector following a two-day inquiry in January.
It came after the developer, Senescura Ltd made a last-minute £1.3 million offer towards affordable housing – a move which led council planners to stand down their defence of the initial refusal and not present evidence to the inquiry.
A motion to be put before councillors at a meeting on Monday evening calls on the council to seek legal advice on initiating a judicial review, with a final decision on whether to proceed delegated to the finance and general purposes committee.
The motion says the town council has been “united in its opposition” to the scheme.
It says: “Shrewsbury faces the loss of one of its most treasured green spaces, valued by residents and ramblers alike.
“It is also next to a site of Special Scientific Interest, threatening biodiversity.
“The combination of open space and vibrant communities gives Shrewsbury its unique identity. This decision is a major blow to that.
“STC believes that in ultimately making this decision, both the Planning Inspectorate and Shropshire Council may have breached the rules of procedure in regards to planning law.”
Councillor Phillips accepts the process will necessitate the use of public funds, requiring careful consideration.
However he concludes: “This motion considers a judicial review on Shropshire Council and the Planning Inspectorate relating to (the application) an appropriate use of public funds and officer time.
“This is because the loss of such heritage without public scrutiny and proper legal process must not happen again, or other Shrewsbury communities will be disenfranchised in the making of future decisions where their heritage and green space is under threat.”
The motion will be debated at a town council meeting at Shirehall on Monday evening.