'Dangerous precedent' for 'millionaire's row' says leader over Shrewsbury mansion plans

A community leader says plans for a mansion "set a dangerous precedent" for a "millionaire's row", and raised concerns over road danger and environmental damage.

Plans have been lodged for a mansion on Beehive Lane in Shrewsbury
Plans have been lodged for a mansion on Beehive Lane in Shrewsbury

Plans lodged for the house on Beehive Lane in Shrewsbury - submitted by Charles Darwin house owner and multi-millionaire businessman Glyn Jones - have received more than 40 objections, including from Porthill councillor Julian Dean.

He said: "My principal objection is that the proposed dwelling lies in a conservation area and without a strong housing need or economic justification I cannot see a case for allowing development, having set the precedent in previous applications within this area for refusal. Not only do we, as a country and as a council, need to conserve wildlife and biodiversity, we actually need to take active steps to restore natural environments as the current rate of biodiversity loss is one of the greatest threats we face.

"I recognise that a pre-application process has been followed and that this has seen changes that show a willingness to reduce the impact on the conservation area and habitat potential for the area, but it remains the case that there will be an impact. There is no justification in terms of housing need or economic benefit that can justify an encroachment into the conservation area. I am surprised and disappointed that the council ecologist has not recorded an objection, as mitigation of harmful effects is not the same as protection, let alone enhancement."

He added: "Beehive Lane forms part of the Shropshire Way, which at this point is characterised by open fields, and dense woodland, with views back to the landmark spire at the cemetery. Although a wild flower meadow is identified for the remainder of the existing field, the only delineation is a simple hedge with openings, providing access to the Main House. This suggests that the adjoining meadow will simply become part of a larger garden, to the proposed new dwelling, thereby destroying the current rural charm of the existing fields in the valley, at this important approach to Shrewsbury town centre.

"The design and access statement identifies the purported 'developable area' within the applicants ownership. This includes further land outside the current application site, extending to the north west, and implies that further development would be acceptable in the future. In addition this current proposal, will encourage future 'infill' proposals along Beehive Lane. If this application is approved it will set a dangerous precedent, and encourage further development in the Kingsland valley. I would also request that this Application be considered by the relevant planning committee."

Mr Dean also believes that it could be "dangerous" for pedestrians and cyclists using the surrounding roads. "The application acknowledges that the development will result in a 25 per cent increase in vehicle movements along this narrow lane, creating a high level of risks to pedestrians and cyclists," he added.

He also raised concerns over the "potential detriment" to the root base of a 250-year-old oak tree.

However, the application has had a number of supportive comments, including from Diane Savage, who praised Mr Jones for "generously creating job opportunities" in the town with his Charles Darwin museum plans at Mount House - the home the evolutionary theorist and Shrewsbury's most famous son was born.

She added: "I feel confident Mr. Jones will have the same well-informed, considered and sensitive approach to developing and maintaining the proposed site for the residential property on Beehive Lane, which will be a single home with beautiful garden and grounds, loved and cared for and an asset to the area."

To view the full application and comment, visit: bit.ly/42luNL4.

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