No rethink on development plans across Shropshire, new council leader says

The new leader of Shropshire Council is "not expecting" any major changes to be made to a controversial planning document for large-scale development across the county.

Councillor Lezley Picton was speaking in response to campaigners from Shifnal Matters, who urged Councillor Picton to "rethink" the Local Plan Review.

The action group said lockdown had shown the "importance" of the green spaces which could be lost if development takes place.

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

First proposed in 2018, it has since been through various stages of consultation and is due to go before the planning inspectorate later this year.

In response to campaigners' concerns, Councillor Picton, who was elected leader of the council last week, said: "The Local Plan has been through a number of stages of consultation and officers are currently considering all responses made earlier this year to the most recent draft.

"The draft Local Plan, along with any proposed changes, will be brought before council in the near future to seek agreement to submit it to the planning inspectorate for examination.

"I, and the cabinet, will be studying the final document before it is released, but in trust I am not expecting there to be any major changes at this late stage."

In Shifnal, the Local Plan includes proposals to build 1,500 homes and a business site of at least 41 hectares.

Further plans include releasing land from the green belt around Shifnal for business sites and potential development after 2038.

Shifnal Matters formed to fight the submissions and has been vocal in its objections since they were released in 2018.

Other proposals in the Local Plan which have gained attention include near Bridgnorth, where Taylor Wimpey wants to build 1,050 homes and at least 16 hectares of employment land in Tasley.

Shropshire Council did decide to axe proposals for development in certain areas of the county when it reviewed the planning document in November 2020.

This included in Church Stretton, where a 12-acre site of 70 homes had been outlined for an ancient meadow, and in Oswestry, where plans for 30 dwellings on land at Trefonen Road were withdrawn.

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