'Shropshire is not Dudley and it never will be': MP hits out at Dudley Council's backing for thousands of homes on Shropshire green belt

An MP has told Dudley Council to focus on its own developments after calling for the controversial construction of more than 3,000 homes on Shropshire green belt.

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard has urged Dudley Council to look at developments within its own borders
Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard has urged Dudley Council to look at developments within its own borders

Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for the Wrekin, said the Black Country authority should look at sites within its borders, instead of relying on Shropshire to meet its housing shortfall.

The letter from Councillor Harley calls for Shropshire to allow the construction of 3,000 homes, and employment land on green belt to the west of Tong and north of Junction 3 of the M54.

The controversial proposal, which has come from the Bradford Estates, was rejected by Shropshire Council when it agreed the final version of its local plan – a document which sets out where 30,800 houses and 300 hectares of employment land will be developed in towns and villages across Shropshire by 2038.

Mr Pritchard, who has opposed the Bradford Estates plan, said: "Dudley need to focus on building on their own remaining brownfield land, decontaminate their industrial sites, consider modern taller buildings to increase residential density as well look to nearby Staffordshire not Shropshire.

"The council also needs to release all correspondence between its officers and landowners in Shropshire.

Duty

"Shropshire is not Dudley and it never will be."

Councillor Harley's letter was met with "disappointment" from the leader of Shropshire Council, Councillor Peter Nutting who said the council would protect the green belt from reckless development.

The situation has arisen after the Association of Black Country Authorities (ABCA), of which Dudley is a member, wrote to Shropshire asking if it could help it meet a shortfall in its own requirements for development land.

The request comes under "duty to cooperate" rules, which require councils to consider joint approaches to development plans.

Councillor Harley's letter made clear that his authority backs the Junction 3 plan, stating: “The potential for employment, and housing, development in the area north of junction three was strongly supported by ABCA in its September 2019 response to Shropshire’s consultation on strategic sites.

“We remain in support of this proposal and take the view the Shropshire local plan should support a strategic settlement which would also help to meet the housing needs of the Black Country.”

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