Petition launched against 'hugely detrimental' housing plans on parkland
A petition has been launched to save a park from having a housing development built on it.
Shingler Homes, working as a development partner with the Lichfield Diocese, has submitted the plan for The Glebelands in Bayston Hill, to Shropshire Council.
The diocese-owned land sits to the rear of Christ Church, and is also home to the Bayston Hill Scout and Guide Hut.
Since the plan was lodged, a meeting has been held at Bayston Hill Memorial Hall, where many residents voiced strong opinions against the loss of The Glebelands, with one man insisting the land is "the lungs of the community". Residents say it always has and still is used by families and for football games, and last year a Platinum Jubilee party was held there.
More than 200 public objections against the plans have been submitted on the planning application, and now a petition has been launched on the Shrewsbury Lib Dems website.
A statement says: "The Glebelands has been used by villagers of Bayston Hill for decades. It is a valuable and much loved community open space, crossed by footpaths which have been used without interruption since 1949.
"Open, green spaces are vital for mental health and wellbeing and the loss of this area to housing would be hugely detrimental to local residents and conflicts with recent government policy. The development would also increase the strain on existing infrastructure."
The 1.4 hectares of land, although owned by the church, was used for many years as community space, through an agreement which saw it leased to Bayston Hill Parish Council.
The church served notice on that agreement and has taken on Shingler Homes with the intention of building housing on the site.
The access for the new development would be off Glebe Road.
The Diocese of Lichfield has also provided its own submission to the planning application in the wake of residents' concerns.
Michael Watney, the managing agent for the Lichfield Diocese, said he wanted to "dispel some myths surrounding this land, its history and indeed its future," and added that the land has never been community owned.
He said: "The Glebelands are not and never have been public land. There has been a lease between Lichfield Diocese and Bayston Hill Parish Council which enabled the land to be used by the residents of Bayston Hill. The lease eventually came to an end and Lichfield Diocese served notice to terminate. No counter notice was served by Bayston Hill Parish Council and so the lease formally concluded."
Mr Watney said the diocese had also made a "substantial offer" to fund a move by the scouts to another site.
He said: "The Bayston Hill Scouts have been part of the steering group since the origins of the development proposals. The Diocese made a substantial offer to the Scouts to help fund their transfer to another site and facilitate a move including brokering a temporary solution in the church. This offer was not taken up by the Scouts."
A decision on the application will be taken at a later date.
To view or sign the petition visit shrewsburylibdems.org/our-petitions/save-the-glebelands-bayston-hill.