Shropshire Council 'will not be dictated to' by Black Country authorities over green belt homes

Shropshire Council has warned it "will not be dictated to" as it hit back at two Black Country authorities which want thousands of homes built on county greenbelt.

The comments come after controversial letters from Dudley and Walsall Councils were sent to the authority asking it to agree to plans for 3,000 homes and a large business site on green belt north of Junction 3 of the M54, and west of the village of Tong.

They say there is a shortfall of available land for development in the Black Country and that Shropshire should provide space for 4,500 homes, despite it already agreeing to supply 1,500.

Speaking at today's meeting of Shropshire Council's cabinet, Councillor Robert Macey, portfolio holder for housing and strategic planning, suggested both Walsall and Dudley had not acted in good faith.

Both councils are members of the Association of Black Country Authorities (ABCA), which Councillor Macey said had agreed with the Shropshire approach.

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He said that given ABCA's "broad support" for the plans he could not understand how the two councils could then take a "contradictory position".

"We have reached an arrangement that does not require Shropshire to specify any sites, or alter our plan from the one we think is best for our area," said Councillor Macey.

"That being said, I fail to understand how two authorities that have signed a letter from the Association of Black Country Authorities providing broad support for this position can in the very same consultation enter a contradictory position."

Message

In a message to Shropshire residents, he said the authority would not be pushed around over the issue.

"What I would say to the people of Shropshire is that we continue to work to produce a local plan that meets our legal duties and that is right for Shropshire," said Councillor Macey.

"Beyond that Shropshire will not be dictated to by other authorities outside of our boundaries, especially those failing to abide by the good faith under which we have proceeded."

The request from Dudley and Walsall comes in the form of an objection to Shropshire's local plan.

The plan, which is still in the process of being officially approved, sets out where 30,800 houses and 300 hectares of employment land will be developed across Shropshire by 2038.

The Tong proposal, which has come from the Bradford Estates, was left out of the plan by Shropshire Council, which decided not to back the scheme.

In his letter requesting Shropshire provide space for 4,500 homes, Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley said: “Some 1,500 of this could be met by the proposed housing allocations in the plan around Shifnal and Bridgnorth, with the addition of up to 3,000 dwellings to be met at land to the north of junction three of the M54 as part of a new strategic settlement.”

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