70-home plan on 'The Sponge' in Whitchurch is delayed

A proposed 70-home development on land in Whitchurch so wet it is known locally as 'The Sponge' has been withdrawn.

Mattel Trustees Ltd had applied for outline permission for the homes on land off Edgeley Road in Whitchurch.

But the plans were withdrawn by agents Berry’s, which said it was going to address certain concerns raised by locals and other organisations before resubmitting them.

Whitchurch Town Council had discussed the issue, along with Whitchurch Rural Parish Council, with Councillor Andy Allen saying the area is very wet.

A statement from the meeting, submitted to Shropshire Council’s planning department said: “Councillor Allen stated it was very difficult to view when driving.

“The proposed land is a very wet site and is known as ‘the sponge’.

“The issues of access and traffic make it a non-viable proposition.

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“Resident B explained that they lived in the ‘Fountain House’ and the increased traffic to the Rugby Club/Newport Road would not cope.

“This road was created for the rugby club to avoid Edgeley Road being used.

“Dr Clare Bellingham stated that this site is a key water vole site and one of the best sites in north Shropshire.

“Resident D noted that this land also plays a key role for the hedgehog population and they need land to roam if they are going to lose habitat.

“Resident E stated that this development would have a dangerous effect on the junction, with the mini roundabout and access to the school as many cut the corner of the mini roundabout where there have been accidents.”

Welsh Water also expressed concerns, with Matthew Lord, lead development control officer, writing: “The above planning application which does not appear to have a drainage strategy submitted as part of the submission.”

“Appreciate that this is an outline application, however we feel that in this instance this information is crucial to assess how the site drains and to ensure that there is adequate capacity in the public sewer network to accommodate the proposed development without causing detriment to the service we provide our existing customers and/or cause pollution to the environment.

“It is not immediately obvious how the site would connect off site due to its proximity to a watercourse, a  pressurised rising main and watermains.”

Berry’s confirmed it had withdrawn the plans – for now – with a letter from Stuart Thomas, head of planning, saying: “Please take this e-mail as confirmation we wish to withdraw the current application.

“We will be resubmitting to address the issues raised.

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