Shropshire Star

Telford & Wrekin Council refuses housing development for fear of ruining beauty spot

A controversial plan to build 20 rental homes in Telford has been refused by a council over fears the development would impair views of the Severn Gorge Conservation Area.

The council have refused an application for 20 homes off Roberts Road in Madeley. Picture: Google

Plans for the housing development off Roberts Road in Madeley included an estate road, car parking and public open space.

Applicant Micharon Homes said that the properties would predominantly have two or three bedrooms and were all intended to be "affordable rental houses".

In a design and access statement the applicant said it was designing the scheme for The Wrekin Housing Group, which would be responsible for managing the properties.

The site is currently used as a paddock with horses "usually kept on the land" and it was argued that the development would "result in a greater amount of useable open space".

The applicant said that an ecological assessment had demonstrated that the development would "enhance the biodiversity" of the land and "promote the preservation, restoration and re-creation of habitats".

Micharon Homes added: “The development of the site would not harm the desire to maintain separation between built-up areas. The application site is a small area of land that will not, if developed, lead to the built-up area of Madeley joining the built-up area of Ironbridge.

“It is clear that the development of the site is likely to enhance the Green Network value of the land rather than detract from it.”

The planning application received over 50 letters of objection from the public, while the council’s built heritage conservation and arboricultural departments also opposed the plans.

Madeley Town Council, The Ironbridge and Coalbrookdale Civic Society, The Gorge Parish Council and Ironbridge Meadows Group also objected.

Councillor Carolyn Healy, ward member for Ironbridge Gorge, also voiced her opposition to the plans.

Councillor Healy said that the land and neighbouring fields ‘form an important buffer zone’ to protect the ‘internationally important’ Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.

“Should this development go ahead it will have an adverse impact on the World Heritage Site setting and could open up further development on neighbouring fields,” said Councillor Healy.

The councillor also raised concerns that the development would also add traffic to Roberts Road which she described as ‘narrow’, with cars regularly parked on the road due to some existing properties not having private drives.

Telford & Wrekin Council refused the scheme stating: “The applicant has failed to demonstrate, through this submitted application, how the proposed scheme will protect and enhance the Green Network and its functions. The scheme has failed to demonstrate that the benefits of the development outweigh the adverse impacts.

“The development fails to respect views to and from the site; would have an adverse impact on the landscape quality of sites adjacent to the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site nor would it protect the setting and views of the designated area; would not deliver a development doing justice to the setting and surroundings of the Severn Gorge Conservation Area and would impair views of it; alongside having a detrimental impact on the setting of buildings of local interest.”