Shropshire Star

Horsehay residents urged to turn out and respond to housing plans

A former councillor is urging residents to turn out for a meeting to discuss plans for more than 700 new homes in the Telford countryside.

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Telford & Wrekin Counci's draft local plan proposes building thousands of homes in the coming years.

The meeting in Horsehay, organised by Telford & Wrekin Council, is one of a number the authority has arranged as part of the consultation on its Local Plan.

It takes place at Horsehay Village Hall from 4pm to 7pm on Tuesday, and David Hopkins, a former Dawley Hamlets parish councillor, said he wanted as many local residents as possible to attend.

The draft Telford & Wrekin Local Plan runs from 2020 to 2040, and sets out where housing and business developments could be built across the borough over that time period.

In it the council has put forward a number of potential sites for 8,820 new houses, and 134 hectares of new employment space.

The draft proposals include a host of small sites, along with some larger developments across the borough.

Three 'sustainable urban extension' sites are planned for the north of the town – each including thousands of houses.

The consultation is currently seeking public responses to the proposals, before the council decides which ones continue.

Mr Hopkins, 70, said the proposals for the Horsehay area involve around 740 homes – and crucially would see building outside what has been considered the unofficial urban boundary to the west of Wellington Road.

He said it was important that residents understand the proposals – and share their views.

Mr Hopkins added that for many people there would be concerns about the infrastructure required to support hundreds of new homes, as well as the impact on the current highways network.

He said: "Different people will have different views but part of the local plan is identifying areas for housing development.

"As far as I understand it, Telford & Wrekin Council has identified double the areas they need.

"They have more than they will actually need, so once the consultation is concluded they will decide which areas they would like to go forward with and which areas they will leave out.

"There is still choice and opportunity for people to say they are not happy with this – or they are happy with it, either or. This is the stage we are at now so it is about getting information out there to encourage people to respond.

"My personal concern is in the last local plan there was an urban/rural boundary, which is essentially the old Wellington Road, but it is not fixed, it is not a green belt that you cannot build on.

"Now there are five developments between Horsehay and down at Lawley which would provide about 740 houses and they are all outside that urban rural boundary and my concern is that we are going to see a lot of housing developed around Horsehay, which will significantly change the character of the area and will also eat into the open rural land around the area, going towards Little Wenlock and the Wrekin.

"Personally I would rather they did not use those sites, whether other people agree is to be decided."

He added: "My concern is there is a tendency for 'let's build houses – people need houses' and I appreciate that but there is not in my experience a good follow up with infrastructure at developments that have already taken place around Horsehay.

"Are there going to be more school places? Doctors? Social areas?"

"The development at Ironbridge with more than 1,000 homes will put a lot more traffic on the road coming through Horsehay. If you add another 700 houses you put another lot of traffic on the road through and it is already a problem."