Plan for thousands of homes 'flawed', say Shropshire councillors

Shropshire Councillors have lashed out at the decision to press ahead with controversial plans for thousands of new homes across the county.

Councillors Nigel Hartin and Heather Kidd voted against the Local Plan at a meeting last week, where it was narrowly passed after heated debate.

Council leader Lezley Picton sacked Councillor Robert Tindall from his planning committee role after he too voted against the plans.

The plan sets out where business land and housing can be built up until 2038 and includes proposals for thousands of houses across Shropshire.

Councillor Hartin, who represents Clun on Shropshire Council, said: "This was a case of mindlessly pressing ahead with a flawed plan come what may.

"In my village of Bucknell there are two clear options – one an extension to a brownfield site, one a greenfield one. Most local residents, the parish council and I have always been of the view that any extra homes in addition to those already saved in the plan should go next to the brownfield development at the timber yard. Now the plan passed today has put the development of a greenfield site next to Redlake Meadow as a priority before the brownfield site at the timber yard in direct contravention of the council's own policy."

All opposition councillors voted against the plan at the meeting on July 15, as did two Conservatives. Despite other Conservative councillors abstaining, the plan was pushed through.

A Liberal Democrat motion to defer a decision until September to allow further consultation and reflection was turned down.

Councillor Kidd, who represents Chirbury and Worthen, added: "We have a real problem delivering affordable homes here for our young people, all this plan does is deliver a mass of large overpriced homes that few want or can afford.

"In Worthen residents have been calling out for more affordable homes for years but this plan would see even more four and five-bedroomed houses foisted on the community. In our area houses are now 11 times the local average wage and more affordable houses are desperately needed to buy and rent.

"Does this council not realise how unpopular planning measures like these and the planning free for all promised in their new housing bill are across England? It was the main reason that voters deserted the Conservatives in droves in the Chesham and Amersham by-election, turning a 16,000 Tory majority into an 8,000 Lib Dem one."

The Local Plan has been passed to the planning inspectorate for a public examination.

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