'Wrong colour': Ironbridge Gorge road resurfacing plan rejected

By Alex Moore | Ironbridge | News | Published:

A property company has been denied permission to resurface a private road in the Ironbridge Gorge because the asphalt it wants to use is the wrong colour.

The entrance to Reynolds Wharf, Coalport, advises visitors that it is private property

Premier Estates Ltd said the roadway in Reynolds Wharf, Coalport, has “failed”, and a black surface is better value for money than a coloured one.

But, in a report explaining their refusal, Telford & Wrekin Council planners note the area is in the Severn Gorge Conservation Area and Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.

The existing “buff-coloured” roadway matches the historic surroundings, they say, while a black one would not.

The Macclesfield-based firm had argued the private drive is invisible from public roads and shielded by the street’s 42 homes. The Gorge Parish Council had no objection to the plans, but the borough council sent a refusal letter on Tuesday, January 7.

The western end of the Reynolds Wharf access road. Picture: Record Associates

A design statement, prepared by consultants Record Associates on behalf of Premier Estates, said problems with the road surface came to light shortly after the homes were completed in 2004.

“The proposal is to remove the existing dilapidated finish and resurface the road with a 40mm-thick black hot rolled stone mastic asphalt course,” it added.

This job would cost “approaching £40,000” it said, to be paid by residents. A coloured surface, it estimates, could cost up to £70,000.


“We do not feel that the proposed changes will affect the setting of the area in any way,” it continued.


“The road surface is not seen from any public roads and, it is assumed, was dressed in this way to provide a cheap way of satisfying any planning conditions at the time.

“Black tarmac is already in use on the main roadway into the development and, indeed, all the main roads within the conservation area, so its use is already established.”


But the planners’ report says Reynolds Wharf is “immediately adjacent” to the former Coalport China Works, now a museum, and “itself incorporates a grade-II listed building, the former Nuway Manufacturing Company Building”.

They write: “The local planning authority considers that the existing road surface was clearly designed to be integral to the housing scheme with a buff grit and bitumen coloured dressing applied to tarmac.

“This successfully creates the character of an informal historic track. It also ties it to the character of the adjacent car park to the China Museum and youth hostel, which has a similar bound buff aggregate finish.

“The use of plain, black tarmac is not considered to be a traditional material for use within these sensitive areas.

“The LPA considers that the proposal would create a harsh and unwelcome, modern suburban character.”

The also add that, on their own site visit, council officers found the roadway is “slightly worn” but otherwise “in a useable condition”.

“No further information has been submitted as part of this application which demonstrates why the resurfacing of the road is required,” the report added.

Alex Moore

By Alex Moore

Local Democracy Reporter covering Telford.


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