Any development at Telford site 'should be as green and sympathetic as possible'
Any development at the controversial Shawbirch East site “should be as green and sympathetic as possible”, a councillor cabinet member has said.
The Shawbirch East area, on the outskirts of Telford, was designated for employment use by central government 28 years ago, and Councillor David Wright said that remains in place despite it now being surrounded by homes and nature reserves.
Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard has previously argued houses should be built on the site, and Shawbirch councillor Bill Tomlinson tried to table a motion requesting a Local Plan review to re-designate it as green space.
But Councillor Wright, cabinet member for housing, transport and infrastructure, said the authority council couldn’t commit to a particular outcome before starting such a review. The Shawbirch resident Gemma Everson asked Cllr Wright, the cabinet member for housing, transport and infrastructure, to clarify “whether the extant planning permission granted by the government for industrial development since 1991 can override any re-designation in the Local Plan”.
Cllr Wright confirmed the the land, northeast of the A442 Queensway and Whitchurch Drive junction, was zoned for development for employment use by central government.
“That consent remains in place to this day,” he said.
“Any re-designation in the Local Plan would not change that consent in any way,” he said.
Councillor Karen Blundell, who represents Apley Castle, said: “Shawbirch and Dothill wards have local nature reserves and one in Apley Castle is imminent, and Eyton upon the Weald Moors has been designatied as a site of special interest.“Would the cabinet member for development agree that, if there is any development on the Shawbirch East site, it must be as green as possible and sympathetic to the surrounding areas?”
Councillor Wright said: “Yes, of course, I agree that any development should be as green as possible and sympathetic to the surroundings.” He pointed out that the site is owned by Homes England but, under the Telford Land Deal, is marketed by Telford and Wrekin Council.
Cllr Wright said: “If the site does come forward for development for employment use, I’m sure that Homes England and the Land Development Board will want to make sure that any redevelopment is as green as possible and reflects on issues relating the local nature concerns.”
The Land Development Board, he explained, is a three-party organisation involving the council, Homes England and the Local Enterprise Partnership.
“Prior to disposal of any site, consent is required from all three partner agencies,” he said.