Major Shropshire development projects leap forward
Plans for three major housing developments that could change the face of Shropshire are set to take a significant step forward.
Together the three sites would comprise thousands of homes, including one entirely new town in the east of the county at Tong.
Shropshire Council is asking the public for their preferred sites for major housing developments as part of its local plan. The plan will see 28,750 houses built in the county between now and 2036.
Now the council’s cabinet is to be asked to give the thumbs-up for three specific sites to be put forward for large-scale development.
They include plans for 3,000 homes and a 50 hectare strategic employment site near Tong off the M54 at junction three, the former Ironbridge Power Station site and the Clive Barracks in Tern Hill.
At a meeting next week the cabinet will be asked to give the green light for talks about the three sites to be stepped up.
The cabinet is also expected to approve talks between its officers and councils in the Black Country over the Tong plan.
Mark Barrow, the council’s director of place, said the sites would create jobs and housing.
He said: “The purpose of the report to cabinet is to seek approval for the council to continue work with site proposers and other stakeholders to develop positive proposals for development on strategic sites in Shropshire.
“These proposals provide strategic opportunities to deliver the objectives of Shropshire’s Economic Growth Strategy to increase the productivity and output of the local economy.
“These proposals are across three identified strategic locations of the county that will generate new investment in employment, thereby increasing the number but also the quality of jobs locally together with additional housing, improved infrastructure and local services.”
He said the report recommended that the cabinet allows officers to speak to those behind the plans, as well as neighbouring authorities and local communities.
He added: “It is also recommended that cabinet approves in principle the potential to explore the benefits to Shropshire of accepting a proportion of unmet development needs from the Black Country authorities, and to engage further with the proposers of land near junction three of the M54, neighbouring authorities, local communities and other relevant stakeholders to develop positive proposals to meet these development needs and provide local employment opportunities.
“This will then be brought forward for cabinet to consider as part of the Local Plan Review Preferred Strategic Sites consultation later in 2019.”
Mr Barrow said the developments would reduce the need for the county’s existing towns to have more housing.
He said: “Shropshire has the potential to benefit significantly from these opportunities by securing large scale investment in strategic and local infrastructure to help mitigate the impact of growth on existing towns.
“However, the strategic scale of these proposals and concerns about impacts on existing infrastructure and environmental assets will raise important challenges for their allocation through the local plan process, and this highlights the overarching need for local communities to have a positive opportunity to have their say on the proposals.”
The proposal for Tong is based on land owned by the Bradford Estates and has been named ‘Monarch’s Way’.
A submission from Bidwells on behalf of Bradford Estates in relation to the plans, made in December 2017, said they would contribute to the housing needs of the county, and provide jobs.
The council has now said initial plans for 10,000 homes have been scaled back and the proposal would now be to provide “a strategic employment site of around 50 hectares, accompanied by around 3,000 homes, and a local centre to provide services, facilities and infrastructure”.
A statement from the Bradford Estates added: “There is the potential to create a series of interlinked garden villages which a team of specialist consultants is now investigating.”
In October last year, Harworth, the owner of Ironbridge Power Station, unveiled plans for the long-term redevelopment of the site.
They included hundreds of homes and potentially retirement living, and a holiday village.
Other suggestions included a park and ride, a business hub, an art gallery and a farmers’ market.
Demolition of the power station – including its iconic cooling towers – is expected to take place over the next three years. The full project will be finished within 10 to 15 years.
The MoD submitted a proposal to Shropshire Council welcoming Clive Barracks’ inclusion on the authority’s list of strategic sites as a mixed use, brownfield site.