Shropshire Star

Developer given permission to replace plant nursery and cafe plan with more houses

More houses are to be built on a development site in Ironbridge.

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Lioncourt Homes has already started constructing the first phase of Heritage Walk, off Beech Road, on behalf of Homes Farm Trust (HFT).

A total of 80 homes were to be built, consisting of two, three and four bedrooms, of which 68 are classed as affordable.

The plan was also to have a plant nursery and café on site, which would enable the development to provide a diversity of uses and deliver retail opportunities to the charity’s customers.

However, Lioncourt Homes has come back, saying that HFT now wants to remove both facilities, with the plan now to build five additional homes.

“Since obtaining the planning consents, HFT have explored how the plant nursery and café would operate and how it would be funded,” reads a design and planning compliance statement submitted by Lioncourt Homes.

“HFT’s new strategy “Your Life Your Way” seeks to support residents with access to their local communities for leisure, learning and work by removing barriers that prevent learning disabled people from participating in their societies. The plant nursery and café would have restricted the opportunities for residents, because the use was intended for residents and users of HFT only.

“HFT have since moved to develop all daytime activities within the wider community, and the on-site facility no longer satisfies their strategy. In addition to this shift change to the charity’s strategy, funding of the facility was also questionable and to safeguard future funds for the charity, this facility is no longer required.”

The developer adds that it is agreed with HFT that one of the five houses would be gifted back to the charity, enabling them to have one further supporting living home.

Telford & Wrekin Council has granted the proposal under delegated powers, with its ecology, highways and drainage departments all supporting it.

However, the scheme did raise some objections.

Stephen Taylor said the development is already impacting the community due to the ongoing construction, with the loss of the nursery also of concern.

Clive Ingram also believes the development will impact on people’s privacy.

“When we bought this house, a plan existed for a nursery and cafe which we assume to be single storey, and which would have settled into the existing surroundings and the new planting,” he said.

“We would also not really have been able to see it. Now there is a proposal for five two-storey houses overlooking our house.

“When buying a house there is always the possibility of a new development in the future, but in this case there was a known new development, but it is now proposed that this is changed in a very material way, to our significant disadvantage, after we have purchased or house and lived here for over three years.”