Telford houses plan sparks petition from park volunteers

A group of volunteers who help to care for areas of an award-winning park have launched a petition against plans for houses nearby.

The land which is the focus of the application
The land which is the focus of the application

The Friends of Telford Town Park are against plans submitted by The Wrekin Housing Trust for two houses on land at Aqueduct Lane, next to the Telford Town Park Local Nature Reserve.

As part of their efforts to oppose the application they have launched a change.org petition, which has so far attracted more than 100 signatures.

Telford & Wrekin Council has previously approved an outline application for the development on the site in 2018. The latest application seeks to set out the specific details of the project and if approved would allow the construction of two two-bedroom houses.

Wrekin housing Trust says it would "develop housing to meet the needs of the community".

Chairman of the Friends of Telford Town Park, Chris Pettman, said they had serious concerns about the impact of the development.

He said: “This area needs to be protected and our volunteers would be willing to maintain it.

“Losing green space adjacent to the award winning Telford Town Park for just two houses to be built will impact the wildlife and an adjacent Local Nature Reserve.

“No amount of replanting will make up for the loss of wildlife habitat.

“The Friends of Telford Town Park are vehemently against this application and are petitioning for Wrekin Housing Trust to instead offer the land back to Telford & Wrekin Council – subject to it being incorporated into the Telford Town Park Local Nature Reserve. This is the right thing to do for the community.

“One may think it is only two houses, but it really will make a difference. This plot has lain undisturbed for over 20 years and we think it would be a travesty to rip it up for two small houses when there are many brownfield sites in Telford – this does not need to be touched.”

The location of the proposal

The friends have said that if they were successful and it did become part of the nature reserve, the area would be managed and maintained, but largely left as it is with plants and wild flowers for use by birds, common newts, and other flora and fauna.

The planning application – which can be found on Telford & Wrekin Council's website under the reference number TWC/2021/0191 – for two two-bed semi-detached houses, which Wrekin Housing Trust intend to rent out, is currently being considered by planning officers.

There have been more than 40 comments of objection since it was submitted and Stirchley & Brookside Parish Council has also voiced its opposition to the proposal, citing concerns about visibility, drainage, lack of parking and over development of the area.

A design and access statement submitted by agents on the behalf of Wrekin Housing Trust says the plans provide "an opportunity on the proposed site to develop housing to meet the needs of the local community".

It adds: "The development sits with in an established residential area and will provide good quality housing that is needed in the borough, built to highly insulated, environmentally-friendly pasivhaus standards."

The statement references the impact on the surroundings, stating: "As the site sits next to Telford and Wrekin’s Green Network it is proposed that the inclusion of ecological enhancements will occur at the rear of the properties."

The application says that the current site is largely covered by trees, including Silver birch, Ash, Holly, Cherry laure, and Black poplar, adding: "Much of this will have to be felled to allow for the development to occur, however an extensive replanting programme will occur to ensure that the visual amenity of the area is not lost."

A spokesman for Wrekin Housing Trust added: "We are committed to working with our partners to meet the growing need for good quality, affordable housing here in Telford.

"Outline planning permission has been approved to build two homes for affordable rent on this site. These buildings will meet the latest high standards for energy efficiency, ensuring a low impact on the environment."

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