Shropshire Star

Consultation launched on planning rules for Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site

A consultation on planning guidance for Shropshire's Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site – including what people can and cannot do to alter their homes – has launched.

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Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council have launched a public consultation on a new 'draft supplementary planning document' for the gorge, which they say is intended "to further protect and conserve" the area.

The World Heritage Site is spread over 550 hectares, with approximately three quarters sitting within the boundary of Telford & Wrekin Council, and roughly one quarter within the Shropshire Council boundary.

The site is internationally recognised as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and is one of the county's and the country's most valuable and popular heritage tourist destinations.

The protected nature of the area means there are strict rules over what can be built, or altered on existing buildings.


The six-week public consultation, which opened on Monday is open to residents of the Ironbridge Gorge, as well as local businesses and organisations.

The consultation will end on Monday, February 20.

The councils said the document is intended to protect the historic character of the area, and includes guidance for how people can replace windows, or carry out energy-efficient alterations to their homes.

With regards to historic windows it explains that 'double-glazing is often considered a quick fix' but adds that all historic windows and doors should be retained.

It states: "Double-glazing is often considered a quick fix to improve energy efficiency, but research has shown that as little as five per cent of energy losses from domestic buildings is through windows or doors.

"More energy is lost through walls and roofs and by inefficient services or use of appliances. Particularly where windows are relatively small compared to the area of walling, very little benefit may result from double-glazing."

It adds: "Historic windows and doors are often key features of significance to historic buildings and make a particularly positive contribution to the Outstanding Universal Value of the IGWHS. Wherever original historic windows or doors survive they should be retained."

Richard Marshall, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways and regulatory services, said: “Starting today, until February 20, we want local people to share views, thoughts and feedback on the document so, collectively, we can protect the historic site.

“We want to reach as many people as possible during the six-week window, and respondents can feed back digitally or come along to one of our drop-in sessions.

“We encourage local people and businesses to tell friends, family and neighbours to help spread the word.”

Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, enforcement and transport said: “We are incredibly proud of the fact that Ironbridge is one of the seven designated conservation areas in the borough and is an area of outstanding universal significance that is recognised internationally.

“This document will ensure that the Unesco World Heritage Site is safeguarded and that the history, conservation, and sustainability of the area are top priority for anyone intending to submit a planning application.

“The council, residents and businesses are custodians of the World Heritage Site, and we urge anyone with a direct interest in the area, such as local residents and businesses, to view the document, put your views forward so that together we can ensure that the site is protected for future generations in years to come.”

The draft document can be viewed at and comments can be submitted via a response form available online, or on request.

In addition, a number of informal staffed public consultation drop-in sessions will be hosted across the World Heritage Site in the coming weeks.

They all take place from 5pm-8pm at the following locations on the following dates: Jackfield, Village Hall, Thursday, January 19; Coalbrookdale, Furnace Kitchen, Thursday, January 26; Coalport, Village Hall, Thursday, February 2; Madeley, Anstice Ballroom, Wednesday, February 8; Buildwas Village Hall, Monday, February 13; Ironbridge, Tontine Hotel, Thursday, February 16.