Shropshire to consult on possible green belt release to meet growth ambitions

Councillors at a West Midlands local authority have approved a consultation paper setting out plans for potential green belt release to accommodate a 'high' rate of housing growth.

Ironbridge Power Station (Pic: Hugh Llewelyn via Flickr)
Ironbridge Power Station (Pic: Hugh Llewelyn via Flickr)

A preferred sites document prepared as part of the Shopshire Council's local plan review was approved by councillors at a cabinet meeting last week.

The paper states the council’s desire to deliver "high housing growth" of 28,750 homes over the local plan period, equivalent to 1,430 dwellings per year across the county.

Approving the strategy, councillors endorsed the "potential release of green belt land to support our long term sustainability".

Existing completions, commitments and allocations total around 18,500 units, the paper states, meaning sites for around 10,250 dwellings still need to be allocated.

The council has identified around 70 preferred sites and favours an "urban-focused" strategy which would see around 30 per cent of development take place around Shrewsbury.

However, the plan also proposes the removal of sites from the green belt in areas around the existing settlements of Albrighton, Bridgnorth, Alveley, and Shifnal.

Urban centres would account for 42.5 per cent of development while rural areas are expected to accommodate around 27.5 per cent of the proposed growth, the document says.

Development could also take place at strategic sites such as Ironbridge Power Station, Clive Barracks, and in potential new garden village settlements.

The consultation will start on 29 November and will run for nine weeks until the end of January.

Charles Green, spokesman for the Shropshire Branch of the the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: "Shropshire Council has cited its housing figures as being ‘needed’ purely to fulfil the ambitions of its own economic strategy and those of the development sector.

"They are not necessary, nor are they wanted by the vast majority of local town and parish councils or of the general Shropshire public. Shropshire Council’s plan is for 25 per cent growth across the County by 2036. At that rate, the countryside would entirely disappear in under 200 years".

Shropshire councillors approved plans in April for up to 600 homes east of Oswestry after planners concluded the scheme would help meet the town’s "current and future" housing needs.

In September, the council approved a quarry on an unallocated green belt site despite what planners described as an "unprecedented level of objection".


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