Hundreds object to plan for houses next to Telford park

Hundreds of would-be neighbours have signed a petition objecting to new houses on the boundary of Telford Town Park.

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

Strata Developments has applied to build a pair of semis on land next to Tunnel Cottages, on Aqueduct Lane in Stirchley.

The Telford-based applicant says the project “will provide good-quality, highly-insulated and environmentally-friendly” housing, but the parish council has objected and a 200-name petition, set up by the Friends of Telford Town Park, has also been lodged against it.

Telford and Wrekin’s Planning Committee will discuss the bid next week.

Council planning officers recommend members approving it.

A report for the committee says the quarter-acre site, on Aqueduct Lane opposite the Knightsbridge Crescent junction, “is a relatively flat parcel of land located between a row of traditional terraced properties and the ‘Elms’ playing field which forms part of Telford Town Park”.

Outline planning permission to build on the site was granted in 2018, and Strata Developments is now seeking full permission.

“The dwellings proposed consist of a pair of semi-detached two-bed properties with front gardens and private amenity space to the rear,” the report adds.

“The plots would utilise a shared access onto Aqueduct Lane.”

A design statement, submitted along with the application, says the homes would “add additional much-needed housing stock” with a design that “draws influence from neighbouring properties”.

“The homes will be built to ‘passivhaus’ [low-energy design] standard, drastically reducing energy bills, improving air quality, providing a healthy and quiet indoor environment,” it adds.

The location of the proposal

Stirchley and Brookside Parish Council was consulted about the application and has objected and issued a “call-in” notice, requesting that it be decided in public by the borough’s Planning Committee, rather than by officers.

Parish councillors’ reasons include “concerns regarding the highway network, increased traffic and poor parking”, “surface water drainage issues” and “damage to trees and impact upon ancient hedgerow”, the planners’ report says.

“Thirty-six neighbouring properties have been formally consulted on the proposal,” it adds.

“The local planning authority has received 68 letters of objection from 32 addresses in response.

“A petition from local residents has also been submitted in objection, containing over 200 signatures.”

These share the concerns raised by parish councillors, and additionally raise the “loss of privacy and overbearing impact on existing dwellings,”, “proximity to a local nature reserve, the Elms playing field and Telford Town Park” and the “loss of green space and amenity of the area”.

Signatories also raised points that approval would “set a precedent to allow building on fields” and argued that “the construction traffic to build the dwellings would be unsuitable for the lane”.

Speaking when the application was submitted 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 Planning Committee is due to meet on Wednesday, June 30.

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