Shropshire Council accused of overlooking consultation responses due to 'lack of staff'

A Shropshire Councillor has accused the authority of overlooking responses to one of the most important planning documents in the county's recent history due to a "lack of staff".

Clun's Shropshire Councillor, Nigel Hartin
Clun's Shropshire Councillor, Nigel Hartin

Councillor Nigel Hartin criticised Shropshire Council's cabinet for pressing ahead with large-scale development proposals outlined in the local plan, and called the latest stage of consultation on the document "meaningless".

It comes after a cabinet meeting on Monday where Shropshire Council approved its local plan, which sets out where housing and business land can be built until 2038, after hearing numerous concerns from councillors across the county.

In response, the council said it considered all responses to the recent consultation and published a "detailed summary" available to view.

Councillor Hartin, who represents Clun, said: "It's patently obvious that the cabinet has not been listening to the huge number of Shropshire residents who submitted their responses.

"This consultation was a key step in the development of the local plan. It seems that due to a lack of staff Shropshire Council has been unable to process the contributions of many residents making the whole consultation process meaningless.

"In my village of Bucknell there are two clear options that have been discussed with planners. One, an extension to a brownfield site already saved in the existing plan, and two, a greenfield site originally proposed by council officer's some 10 years ago, but discounted at the time due to lack of community support.

"Most local residents, the parish council and I have always been of the view that any extra homes in addition to those already saved in the plan should go next to the brownfield development at the Timber Yard.

"Now the plan passed has put the development of a greenfield site next to Redlake Meadow as a priority before the brownfield site at the Timber Yard in direct contravention of its own policy."

Other councillors have been vocal in speaking out against the plans, including in Bridgnorth and the surrounding area, which is subject to a garden village of more than 1,000 homes and a large employment site.

A spokesman for Shropshire Council said: “Officers at Shropshire Council have considered all the responses to the recent consultation on the draft local plan. A detailed summary of these comments has been published as part of the recent Cabinet report and will be available to view as part of the upcoming consultation on the regulation 19 stage of consultation beginning next week.”

Councillor Hartin added: "This local plan is going to have a major impact on most of our settlements for years to come, defining how many housing developments can take place and where.

"In its current form, it will have a major impact on many communities.

"Furthermore the government's proposed planning bill proposes to give developers a free hand to build on any allocated land without needing planning permission.

"In my area this could mean that the allocated sites now being consulted on in Clun for instance could be built on without the need for planning permission in the future.

"There is one more round of consultation – the regulation 19 consultation on the whole plan, which will run from mid December until the end of January.

"I would really urge residents concerned about the future of their communities to have their say and email or write to the planning department of Shropshire Council.

"I sincerely hope that Shropshire's Conservative cabinet will listen this time."

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News