Date set for Tong M54 homes plan decision

Judgement day has been set for Shropshire Council to decide whether plans to build thousands of homes as part of a 'garden village' on greenbelt land near Tong will go ahead.

An aerial view of Tong as it looks today
An aerial view of Tong as it looks today

Cabinet members are due to make the decision on whether to accept an unmet housing need from the Black Country at a meeting on February 12 following newly-submitted evidence supporting the proposal.

Council leader Peter Nutting previously said it looked as if the scheme to provide thousands of houses on land off junction three of the M54 would not get off the ground as no evidence had been put forward to support the development.

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But Shropshire Council has today confirmed discussions are ongoing following an Urban Capacity Study published by the Association of Black Country Authorities (ABCA), and that further evidence is expected to be put forward in the coming weeks.

The study identifies a shortfall of about 26,920 homes which cannot be accommodated in the Black Country and outlines a need to build houses in neighbouring authorities.

It states: "Due to the significant need for both housing and employment land across the Black Country over the new Black Country Plan period and the extent of already identified urban sites and limited opportunities for identifying other potential urban land it is not possible to meet all of these needs in the urban areas of the Black Country.

"The Black Country Local Authorities will continue to engage positively with neighbouring authorities through ongoing duty to co-operate work and are progressing further detailed evidence to inform the review and how these identified needs could best be met."

The proposals near Tong are for 3,000 homes and a 50-hectare employment site to be built on land off junction three of the M54 in what would affectively be a new village.

The document adds that further land could be released from the Black Country greenbelt.

It states: "Given the urban capacity evidence summarised above, it is reasonable to conclude that the exceptional circumstances necessary to trigger a greenbelt review in the Black Country, in order to meet housing and employment land needs, have been met."

Shifnal Matters, the campaign group spearheading the fight against the proposals, said it would continue its work despite the plans seemingly falling through in December.

More than 815 people have signed a petition to stop the development moving forward.

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