Call for 'new facilities first' over expansion of Bridgnorth
Bridgnorth must not be allowed to grow without the jobs, roads, medical facilities and schools it needs, say town leaders.
A “tentative vision” for Bridgnorth and surrounding parishes was discussed by members of a new steering group to look into its future.
Clive Dyson, chairman of the Bridgnorth Plan group, outlined ideas that will continue to be consulted on over the coming year.
The plan brought criticism from some residents at a meeting who said the Bridgnorth Plan was not protesting against Shrophire’s ‘Samdev plan’ which outlines the future growth of the county and which includes the building of 1,500 new homes in the area.
Steering committee member Henry Carver said Shropshire had given no evidence as to why there should be 1,500 new homes in the area and said he feared the unitary authority was unlikely to give the area money to improve the infrastructure.
Mr Dyson said the steering committee was doing its best as volunteers to give a balanced plan for the town and its hinterland.
He said there were three options suggested for the housing need within the consultation document. These range from 47 a year to 86 a year up to 2036, the consultation document says.
He added: “We will consult on which of these rates of growth is appropriate for Bridgnorth, whether Bridgnorth is the correct location in which to construct the higher number of dwellings and where in the Bridgnorth settlement any new dwellings should be built.”
Suggestions in the Bridgnorth Plan consultation document include offering additional business opportunities, with a focus on office space and good communications for skills-based businesses. But big industry was not going to invest in Bridgnorth when Telford and Wolverhampton had better transport infrastructure, Mr Carver said.
The consultation document said several roads in Bridgnorth were getting close to their capacity and one idea was a north/south bypass to relieve Low Town.
An access to the bypass from the Highley/Chelmarsh road and a single carriageway link between the Broseley and Telford roads are also being mooted.
“Bridgnorth is not identified as an opportunity town by the Marches LEP and in fact its transport corridor map does not even have Bridgnorth on it,” Mr Dyson said.
“There has been no improvements to the road network since the bypass was built in the early 1980s.
“The road network is stressed at the present and increasing development will put it under more pressure.”
Recommendations for supporting the local economy also included investing in and supporting the hospitality, retail and tourism sector, which provides about a third of the local jobs.
Other issues being looked at include infrastructure such as education and skills, sports and leisure, health and medical facilities, support for the young and old.