Homes plan for Shropshire village pub car park is rejected

Plans for new houses in the car park of a former Shropshire pub have been refused, after council officers ruled that the project would harm the “rural setting” of the building.

The Lion Inn, Waters Upton.
The Lion Inn, Waters Upton.

Landowner Raj Patel applied for outline permission to build up to two homes behind The Lion Inn – which now operates as an Indian restaurant – at Waters Upton.

A statement by Mr Patel’s planning agent said the car park was “underutilised” and no longer needed by the business, and said building homes would help “ensure the longer-term future” of the site.

But, in a report explaining their reasons for refusal, Telford & Wrekin Council planners said the proposal would harm the “local interest building” and the homes’ would-be residents could be “detrimentally affected by noise and light pollution” from the restaurant.

Caitlin Osborne, of Shrewsbury-based Hooper Enterprise Associates Ltd, wrote: “This land is a car park no longer used or needed to support the current business. Consequently, the owner, Mr Patel, wishes to re-use the land for residential use.

“Whilst the Lion Inn has survived and is a valuable resource for the village, it cannot do that without adapting to changes in business and the wider economic climate.

Revenue

“With business being limited by the pandemic restrictions, the proposed application has been made to ensure longer-term future.

“The building of the new houses will create employment for local construction firms, council tax revenue will be generated and the restaurant and takeaway service will also potentially benefit from a slight increase in local demand from the new residents.”

Telford and Wrekin’s Local Plan “strictly controls” development in the countryside and only allows “infill” development in a short list of villages that includes Waters Upton, the planners’ report said.

Ms Obsorne argued that the car park, which backs onto a field and accesses the A442 at the front, counted as an infill site because it had housing to the north and south.

But council officers said it did not qualify, as the houses would be located behind the former pub and set back from the road.

The also argued that would-be residents of the home could be “detrimentally affected by noise and light pollution arising from the use of The Lion Inn”, and Mr Patel’s application had presented evidence to counter this.

Officers added: “The proposal would have a detrimental impact upon the character of the local interest building, the Lion Inn, by way of the loss of the green open space to the rear of the building, which contribute positively to the rural setting of the building.”

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