Crowd of 200 protest over Shifnal and Tong housing plans - with video and photos
Around 200 protesters made their voices heard over their objections to 3,000 homes being built at Shifnal and Tong, despite developers pulling the plug on a meeting to discuss the matter.
Residents rallied outside Shifnal's Park House Hotel on Tuesday evening with placards, megaphones and sirens as they awaited developers and other stakeholders for the "community liaison" meeting organised by consultancy firm Curtin and Co on behalf of developers Bradford Estates.
The meeting was to discuss Shropshire Council's plans to build the homes, which it claims are needed to attract businesses to the area, address housing needs and keep youngsters from moving away.
But it was cancelled, with Curtin and Co citing diary clashes and plans to reschedule the meeting.
Watch the video from the protest:
Community groups and councillors claimed they were invited but not told about the cancellation, and Albrighton councillor David Beechey said he was the only person who turned up at the function room which had been booked out. Several men, suited and booted, drove up to the hotel before turning around when they saw protesters.
Despite the cancellation, the protesters didn't let that stop them making noise.
Lee Hubbard, a member of the Shifnal Matters campaign group, said: "We found out about this meeting six hours ago and this is the level of support we've got from the community. That is how important it is to people.
"In the last six years Shifnal has grown by 50 to 60 per cent. This isn't for Shropshire housing needs, it's about fulfilling the needs of the West Midlands Combined Authority. It's not sustainable."
John Moore, who retired to Shifnal four years ago, added: "I came here for what it is, a nice market town. What they are doing is destroying the town. There has been too much development already. The schools are full, you can't get an appointment at the doctors."
Fellow campaigner Zoe Turner said: "It's a lovely town with community spirit, but they're destroying it. They will get rid of all the natural habitat for the wildlife."
Steve Carey, of Curtin and Co, claimed the group didn't know about the protest, despite a leaked email from a company employee in which they said they were aware of a demonstration.
He said: “The meeting has been postponed because of clashes with diaries. It was going to be a meeting to have a discussion with representatives and local groups in the area including parish councils and councillors. It was to organise some kind of liaison group.
“We were unaware that there was going to be a protest.”