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21-homes plan at former paper mill near Newport deferred

By Alex Moore | Newport | Property | Published:

Plans to build 21 houses on the site of a former paper mill near Newport are on hold, after councillors decided they raised “too many unanswered questions”.

Three years ago Fletcher Homes Shropshire Ltd was granted outline planning permission on appeal, and this year applied for consent to start building on the three-acre site off Mill Lane, Tibberton.

But Telford & Wrekin Council's planning committee voted to defer its decision after hearing that the ground might be contaminated by its industrial past and receiving conflicting reports about who owns a grass verge, where a footpath is to be built.

Principal engineer Mark Rowley told councillors the developer was already required to carry out surveys and would not be allowed to build on dangerous land.

Tibberton and Cherrington Parish Council chair Jim Berry said: “It’s known that chlorine, in printing, creates toxins. Because it has had earth put over the top, this site should have a deep survey.”

Planning committee member Peter Scott said: “I would like to be confident the possible toxins in the ground have been investigated properly.

“I wouldn’t want to put my name to something that hasn’t had a proper survey.”

Mr Rowley said the outline permission included a condition relating to ground surveys.

Disputed

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“The condition is quite clear: The land will need to be free of contamination,” he said, adding that Fletcher Homes will need to provide evidence and would not be allowed to complete the project if evidence of contamination was found during the work.

A report, prepared by planning officers for the committee, said 14 objection letters had been received, raising the land contamination fears and claiming the required “pedestrian safety scheme” is undeliverable “due to the grassed verges being within the private ownership of residents”.

“Matters relating to land ownership to include verges and additional land along Mill Lane are disputed between residents and developers,” the report author adds, summarising objectors’ points.

Councillor Stephen Burrell, who represents the Edgmond and Ercall Magna ward that incorporates Tibberton, said: “The applicant will tell you they are confident the pedestrian safety scheme can be delivered.

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“They haven’t been able to provide so much as a sketch showing how they could provide a footpath up Mill Lane.”

But the officers’ report says: “The Local Highways Authority considers that the verge required to deliver the pedestrian safety scheme forms part of the adopted highway and, as such, is considered to be deliverable.”

Andrew Beeston, representing Fletcher Homes Shropshire Ltd, said:

“The principle of development has been previously approved, so the application before you is purely to do with layout, appearance and landscaping.” He said 21 homes was one fewer than the 22 originally planned, and was an “an appropriate edge-of-village density”.

Councillor Scott said: “There are too many unanswered questions.

“Its not a big leap to wait and do things properly.”

Councillors voted 7-1 to defer the application.

Alex Moore

By Alex Moore
@TelfordLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Telford.

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