Residents 'relieved' after David Austin Roses scraps green belt development plans

Residents of a quaint Shropshire village have expressed "relief" after a world-leading rose breeder scrapped plans to build a large glasshouse on green belt land.

The proposals by David Austin Roses were to construct a 109.7m x 96m glasshouse, along with two sheds, on land to the west of Badger Lane – between Badger and Beckbury.

Based 3.5 miles away in Albrighton, David Austin Roses had hoped the facility would replace its older structures, which it called "very cramped and in need of replacement", in order to keep it at the forefront of the global rose breeding industry.

But about 80 objections were lodged to Shropshire Council's planning department, including from Beckbury Parish Council, with concerns including the loss of green belt land, access to the area and a lack of employment opportunities for local people.

Heather Thomas, who lived in Badger for 12 years before moving to Beckbury, where she has lived for the last 45 years, said there was a sense of relief among the whole community.

She said: "There's only about 100 to 120 households in the area, so to get 80 online objections was quite good, and the neighbouring parish councils got involved as well.

"We're relieved they've withdrawn the application. It just depends on what the next step is really, but on the whole everyone is very pleased.

Valued

"The land is so valued by the local community and people outside the community.

"It is the beauty spot that everybody walks around almost everyday, especially during Covid. It would have been such a great loss."

Heather said she wasn't against development in principle, but that this application was a "step too far".

"At face value it seems a very generous gesture on their part to withdraw the application and it seems like they appreciate the value of this to us," she said.

"No one minded the fact that roses might be grown there for appropriate horticultural and agricultural use, but massive buildings – certainly not.

"They could come back with another plan having seen our objections and addressed those – as long as it is appropriate.

"We know farmers are having it tough and they have to diversify and we appreciate that but this, we felt, was a bit of a step too far."

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