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Shropshire Star comment: There must be a proper consultation over 13,000-home development for Tong

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

Dressing up plans to build 10,000 new homes by using fancy names and calling them ‘a garden village' is so much hokum.

Planners want to build 10,000 new homes

There is another word for that number of dwellings and it is this: a town.

That number of properties will attract more than double that number of residents. To put it more simply, the garden village will feature a town more than twice the size of Ludlow.

It is not surprising, therefore, that residents in the small towns and villages around Tong are alarmed.

Should the plans go ahead, their lives will be changed irrevocably. They will endure the dust, noise and muck of construction traffic while the homes are being built. And then the peace and tranquility that once seemed normal and might even have been taken for granted will become but a memory.

There must be proper consultation before such plans are approved, therefore, which factor in the fears of people who live near Bradford Estates.

Complicated

Planning is a complicated business in which competing priorities must be balanced. In order for it to work effectively and in the best interest of the wider community, civil servants and councillors must take a long term view.

They must look ahead to the future needs of our region while also balancing the rights and privileges of existing residents.

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They must make sure there are enough homes for future populations while not bespoiling the landscape or lifestyles of people who have worked hard to buy their own home. It is an unenviable task and some sides face disappointment.

And yet sensible planning is an extremely important part of our democracy. For it determines how we live our lives and how communities are shaped.

Decisions must be made transparently and with the wider community in mind. Nimby-ism must be put to one side as we look ahead.

But lives must not be destroyed for commercial gain. Communities must not be pulled apart so that developers can profit. All aspects must be investigated, including whether there are viable alternatives, such as brownfield sites, that might be better for developing.

And so while we acknowledge the tricky task that planners have, we also note their responsibilities and commitments to existing residents.

The wishes of locals must be taken into consideration and decisions must be based on what is best for the majority, not simply on what option is the most profitable.

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