Concerns raised over Telford housing proposal

A Roman road, a former railway station and abandoned mining tunnels might stand in the way of work to build eight new homes in Telford.

The outline application for the houses, on land just off Station Road and east of Pauline Close in Telford, will also include an access lane, which the parish council says is too narrow.

The Coal Authority now supports the proposal, but warns that builders must take precautions against gas explosions in the “highly likely” event they disturb old mine works.

Sue Li, from Lawley, has applied to build a combination of four, three and two-bedroom homes on the land, which is currently overgrown.

Shropshire Council’s Policy and Environment Sustainability Group – which is consulted on archaeological matters in Telford and Wrekin – said in a report: “The proposed development site lies on the south side of the line of Watling Street, the Roman road from London to Wroxeter, and partly on the site of the former Ketley Railway Station.”

The one-platform Ketley station closed in 1962, having operated for 101 years.

“The site therefore has some archaeological interest,” the report adds.

“Groundworks associated with the proposed development may impact on archaeological remains and deposits, in particular those associated with the Roman road.”

They recommend that an archaeologist should be allowed to keep a “watching brief” during foundation digging.

In October, The Coal Authority raised “substantive concerns” about the application, which it says is in a “high-risk” development area.

Hazards

“The Coal Authority information indicates that within the application site and surrounding area there are coal mining features and hazards, specifically historic, unrecorded underground coal mining at shallow depth,” planning liaison officer Deb Roberts wrote.

A risk report attached to Ms Li’s application was based on assessments at a nearby address on Station Road, not the site itself.

“The Coal Authority therefore objects to this planning application, and we consider that the applicant needs to submit site-specific information,” the letter continued.

Two weeks later, after receiving a fresh report, Ms Roberts wrote again, giving conditional support to the application.

“In the likely event that mine workings are encountered, the Coal Authority considers that due consideration should also be afforded to the potential risk posed by mine gas,” she added.

Ketley Parish Council also drafted an objection statement, which pointed out the building work would cause “significant disruption” to nearby homes and businesses.

It continues: “The proposed new access for residents, business owners and customers is too narrow for the volume of expected traffic and does not consider pedestrian access.

“It exits onto a bus stop and is opposite the access to an existing busy residential estate and large industrial premises.”

The application was before Ketley Parish Council last week and has not yet been given a date to go before Telford and Wrekin Council’s planning committee.

By Alex Moore, Local Democracy Reporter

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