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Council drops mammoth Telford factory plans after public outcry

By Rob Smith | Telford | News | Published:

Telford & Wrekin Council have backed down from unpopular plans for an industrial park in Telford, recommending the planning application be dropped.

It comes after almost 1,000 people had made their objections to the plans clear, and the council's leader Shaun Davies said he recognised the strength of feeling over the application.

But Councillor Davies re-stated the council's position that the land north and east of the Shawbirch roundabout is "designated for employment use", and new applications could be submitted in future.

The council has asked its government co-applicant Homes England to withdraw the recent outline plans, which would have seen a building 40 metres tall and covering 80,000 square metres of land erected.

Councillor Davies said: “It is clear that the outline application being made in respect of the site has caused considerable concern among residents and councillors.

“Having spoken with Councillors Bill Tomlinson, Karen Tomlinson and Karen Blundell and my own cabinet at length about their concerns, I have asked council officers to suggest to the government agency to withdraw this application.  

“It is of course important to recognise, as many do including local councillors, that this land is designated for employment use and has been for over 40 years – but any development that may come forward in future must of course be appropriate and subject to a specific planning application and to consultation."

Shaun Davies

The land in question is owned by Homes England, and is tipped for "employment use" in the Telford & Wrekin Local Plan.

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The council has said that the principle of developing the site was established over 40 years ago, but any specific proposed use of the land would have to see a new, separate planning application made.

A council spokesman said: "Issues relating to scale, layout, external appearance, landscaping, impact on the environment and road network would be considered as part of that application, if detailed proposals are submitted.

"The Shawbirch site is one of the government’s and the region’s largest employment sites and as such is seen as a major investment site.

"There has been strong interest in the land from a number of companies."

Residents in Shawbirch, nearby Wellington and Admaston continued submitting letters of objection over the weekend before the withdrawal was announced, and Wrockwardine Parish Council also recommended refusal.

In a letter, the parish council said to approve the plans would be "to turn the clock of progress back to Victorian England where workers were required to live within the shadow and the multiple pollution plumes of the factories around them".

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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