Shropshire Star

Residents' plea to council over 3,000 homes plan off M54

Residents living near a parcel of land earmarked for 3,000 houses and employment purposes have issued a plea to Shropshire Council not to allow Shifnal to become an urban area.

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Members of Shifnal Matters protest group

Shropshire Council hosted a public meeting on Wednesday evening at RAF Cosford as part of its 10-week consultation on a number of strategic development sites in the county.

The event was a chance for the public to find out more about the three sites put froward - RAF Cosford, the former Ironbridge Power Station and Clive Barracks at Tern Hill.

However the majority of the discussion was around the Junction 3 site off the M54, near Tong, which the authority is still considering.

The Black County authorities have asked Shropshire Council to release the land, which forms part of the green belt, as they cannot fulfil their own housing and employment needs.

Louis Jenks, from Shifnal, told council officers that he moved to the area two years ago to escape city life.

"Everything that attracted us to Shropshire, the council seems intent on destroying," he said.

"I like living in the countryside and the greenery. If these plans are allowed to go ahead, that will all be destroyed. We moved because we didn't want to live in an urban area.

"It's frustrating that the Black Country is saying it doesn't have its own land to build on. You only have to travel to Wolverhampton to see all of the brownfield sites it has."

The Bradford Estates has put forward its land near Tong for 3,000 homes and 300 hectares of employment land and has said it will bring “high quality jobs and housing” to the region.

But Linda Fisher, who lives in Tong, said the proposals will "crucify the area".

"We've lived this with this for two years now and it's like living under a cloud," she added.

"Junction 3 is being proposed to make money and that is it. It's going to take Tong, which is a lovely little village and completely change it. You may as well live in the middle of Birmingham if this goes ahead."

Earlier this year a campaign group, Shifnal Matters, formed in response to the plans.

Member Lee Hubbard said he is "flabbergasted" that the council is still considering the site despite the overwhelming response from local people.

"We have heard at numerous events the rhetoric from Shropshire Council about the need for housing and employment land, but we know they have no major businesses targeted to actually come to the area.

"The proposed housing is not sustainable because there is not enough facilities.

"This is purely a fiscal decision on their behalf. It is not for the benefit of the young population like they claim. They are selling the town off to the benefits of their fiscal shortfall."

The next public meeting, about the power station site, takes place at Buildwas Village Hall from 7pm to 9pm on July 17.