1,600 sign petition against Shifnal greenbelt development

Campaigners are hoping a petition will help save land within a town's green belt from being released for mass housing.

More than 1,600 people have signed the document created by Shifnal Matters asking Shropshire Council to reconsider its plans to build on green belt land in Shifnal.

The proposals, outlined in the authority's local plan review, will see at least 1,500 homes and 41 hectares of employment land built throughout the town.

The local plan sets out where housing and business land can be built throughout Shropshire until 2038.

Shifnal Matters, which formed in 2018 to fight the proposals, said it does not agree 'exceptional circumstances' have been met to warrant the release of land from the green belt.

John Moore, of the action group, said: "The huge response to this petition shows how important our green belt is to local people and Shropshire Council has got to start to understand that.

"We have requested that the concerns raised in this petition are debated to show that they are listening to the very people they are supposed to be representing.

“Green spaces have become ever more important during the pandemic and will continue to be so going forward and this wasn’t taken into account in the original plans.”

The group confirmed it had also contacted Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard calling for his support.

It comes after campaigners expressed disappointment that development plans for Shifnal had remained unchanged in the local plan following the initial stages of public consultation.

Whereas proposals which would have seen an ancient meadow in South Shropshire built on were axed from the local plan.

The Snatchfield farmland in Church Stretton had been earmarked for a 12-acre site of 70 homes until planning officers deemed it not necessary.

Similarly, land allocated for business growth north of Shrewsbury has also been dropped, and a proposed site in Weston Rhyn has been withdrawn in favour of a similar development elsewhere in the village.

The 'section 19' consultation on the local plan is currently ongoing and runs until February 5, 2021.

Final amendments to the document will then be made before it goes to Shropshire Council for approval, and then to the planning inspectorate.

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