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Campaign launched to fight Church Stretton meadowland homes plan

By Lucy Todman | Church Stretton | Property | Published:

A campaign is underway to save a medieval meadowland which has been earmarked for housing.

Snatchfield in Church Stretton has been identified by Shropshire Council in its Preferred Sites document as a site for 70 homes.

But campaigners are determined to save the meadowland, which sits in the heart of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and have written to The Prince of Wales asking for his assistance.

Shropshire Council is currently running a consultation asking for comments on its plans and earlier this month organised a public event which was attended by dozens of people.

Church Stretton Town Council has discussed the issue and councillors have agreed to reject the scheme.

Now a campaign group has been launched, Save Snatchfield, and residents of the town are being urged to throw their weight behind it.

Another site in the town, Gaerstone Farm, has also been identified as a possible development site.

On it's website, the campaign group said: "There is actually no shortage of available houses in Church Stretton – but only if one has enough money.

"The number of houses isn't the issue. Rather, the root problem is the lack of any sustainable mechanisms to buy, build or convert dwellings that will create the right homes in the right places, and at the right rent or mortgage costs.

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"The principles upon which we are currently objecting to the Snatchfield Meadow and Gaerstone Farm housing developments are equally applicable to future indiscriminate development and are intended to safeguard the town and its landscape setting / environment as a whole."

Snatchfield had previously been considered for development in Shropshire Council's SAMDEV process but was rejected from the preferred options due to its impact on the ANOB, loss of green space and footpaths and the negative impact it could have on tourism.

A letter, sent to Shropshire Council's planning department by those against the proposal said: "Why have these factors been ignored; and what has changed to allow Snatchfields to become a Preferred Site?

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"Shropshire Council has a moving goal post policy of proposing development on a site which five years ago it deemed to have very limited capacity for housing and was deleted from the SAMDEV process.

"Shropshire Council has not had regard to Church Stretton’s unique quality and set a lower number of required dwellings, and has treated it the same as a key centre that is outside an AONB.".

To comment on the Preferred Sites document email planningpolicy@shropshire.gov.uk by February 8.

Shropshire Council was contacted for comment.

For more information go to savesnatchfield.org

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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