Councillor says homes plan is 'out of character'

Planned houses are “out of keeping” with the neighbouring village and not suitable to be built in the countryside, local councillors say.

Planned homes for Barrack Lane, Lilleshall. Picture: Aaron Chetwynd Architect Studio / Telford and Wrekin Council
Planned homes for Barrack Lane, Lilleshall. Picture: Aaron Chetwynd Architect Studio / Telford and Wrekin Council

A private developer has applied to build the three detached homes on a one-acre site off Barrack Lane, Lilleshall.

A statement by the architects says the irregular design “celebrates local heritage and cultural history” and is inspired by nearby features like the lime kilns and former canal.

Lilleshall Parish Council has objected, calling it “not sympathetic” to the village’s traditional style, while Telford & Wrekin councillor Andrew Eade says it does not pass the “exceptional quality or innovative design” test that would allow such homes to be built in the countryside. The authority will decide on the application at a later date.

A design statement, submitted by Aaron Chetwynd Architect Studio on behalf of applicant Lorraine Jones, says the blueprints are “born out of a rural and industrial landscape”.

“Our scheme celebrates the local heritage and cultural history in a relevant and contemporary way,” it adds.

“Everything is locally-focussed with a deep respect to craftmanship, the environment and a growing desire to connect with nature.”

Aaron Chetwynd, a “small architecture practice of three people” based in rural Staffordshire, says it works locally on small-scale and one-off newbuild homes.

Its statement adds that the Barrack Lane proposals “present the council with an opportunity to secure the future of a derelict site with a remarkably interesting history” and says the design is “informed by energy reduction, energy efficiency and low-carbon energy provision, thereby meeting the expectations for innovative sustainable design”.

Councillor Andrew Eade has criticised the plan

Councillor Eade, who represents Church Aston and Lilleshall, has submitted a “call-in” notice, requesting that the application be decided in a public meeting of the borough’s Planning Committee, rather than by council officers.

He notes that the National Planning Policy Framework usually advises local authorities against allowing “isolated” new homes to be built in the countryside, unless they display “exceptional quality of design”.

Aaron Chetwynd’s statement says Design Midlands – an independent body that advises local authorities – confirmed its plans for Barrack Lane meet this threshold, but, in his call-in request, Councillor Eade argues they “do not represent exceptional quality or innovative design by any stretch of the imagination, and are also inappropriate for siting within historic and sensitive woodland”.

He adds that the plans “do not fit in with traditional and historic housing style of Lilleshall” and raises questions about ground conditions due to “unrecorded and un-grouted mineshafts”.

Lilleshall Parish Council discussed Mrs Jones’s proposal when it met last month.

Draft minutes of that meeting say members objected, calling the design “largely out-of-keeping with the local area and not sympathetic in design to the historic old village theme of the locality”.

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