Shropshire Star

Green party moves to block Church Stretton housing plan

Objections have been lodged to the earmarking of two greenfield sites in south Shropshire for housing.

Last updated

The South Shropshire Green Party said it has submitted an eight-page document to Shropshire Council urging the authority to drop the plans for the two sites in Church Stretton.

The group said the council has earmarked sites near Gaerstone Farm and Snatchfield Farm.

The party said neither of the identified sites are suitable for housing, the most pressing issue being that it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which brings with it a high level of protection from suburban development, such as housing, roads, street lighting and car parking.

It said the development of this site for housing is contrary to established principles of sustainable development including the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions in line with recent scientific advice from the IPCC.

The branch also said the development is a car-dependent site and unsuited to the promotion of walking, cycling and bus use as alternatives to the car.

Finally, it said the development is unrelated to the needs of the local area for high quality, affordable, energy efficient housing.

Hilary Wendt, co-ordinator of the South Shropshire Green Party, said: “We think the proposed developments are the wrong sort of housing in the wrong place.

“Instead we ask that Shropshire Council produce a costed plan to provide new homes on smaller sites within Church Stretton – rather than developments on the town’s outskirts.

“If new housing is inserted into the town then it makes it easier for people to use public transport, or walk or cycle to get around.

“So we can have the homes without doing the damage that we now know car dependent development does to our quality of life.”

Response from Shropshire Council:

Dan Corden, from Shropshire Council’s planning policy team, said: “Shropshire Council consulted on its preferred development strategy for Shropshire for the period 2016-2036 within the ‘Preferred Scale and Distribution of Development Consultation’ in late 2017.

“As part of this strategy an ‘Urban Focus’ was proposed for the distribution of development.

“This seeks to focus the majority of development in Shrewsbury and Shropshire’s network of Principal and Key Centres as these are considered the most sustainable settlements, offering a range of services and facilities to support new development. This includes Church Stretton which has been identified as a Key Centre.

“The ‘Preferred Sites’ Consultation which ran until last Friday sought to invite feedback on: A housing policy direction to improve delivery of affordable housing; Preferred development guidelines and boundaries for Shrewsbury, the principal and key centres and proposed Community Hubs; and Preferred sites to deliver the preferred scale and distribution of housing and employment growth for the period 2016-2036.

“Two preferred housing allocations have been identified within Church Stretton, informed through the application of a site assessment process, summarised on the Shropshire Council website.

“Small sites within the proposed development boundary can come forward for development, subject to the identification of an appropriate scheme. It is considered that these sites can complement preferred allocations and an appropriate allowance has been made for such sites in Church Stretton.

“During the ‘Preferred Sites’ consultation, we welcomed all views on our proposals. Responses will now be analysed and a summary of responses published.”

By Andrew Morris, local democracy reporter