Shropshire draft plan proposes release of 391 hectares of green belt under ‘high growth’ strategy

Shropshire Council is set to approve a draft local plan that would involve the release of 391 hectares of green belt land for development, though previous proposals to deallocate a further 400 hectares of green belt have been dropped.

Shropshire Council has proposed the release of 220 hectares of green belt land at RAF Cosford. Image: Flickr / Steve Lynes
Shropshire Council has proposed the release of 220 hectares of green belt land at RAF Cosford. Image: Flickr / Steve Lynes

Planning officers at Shropshire Council have proposed the deallocation of a series of green belt sites to help accommodate 30,800 homes and 300 hectares of employment land over its local plan period, running from 2016 to 2038.

Officers advised that housing need in the county is 25,894 homes over the 22-year plan period but said a higher target had been adopted to take into account the council’s "high growth" strategy and unmet need for 1,500 homes among neighbouring Black Country authorities.

At a meeting on Monday 20 July, Shropshire Council cabinet members will be asked to approve the draft plan for an eight-week consultation running from 3 August to 30 September.

The plan proposes the release of 391 hectares from the green belt - of which 116 hectares would be ‘safeguarded’ and must be allocated within a future local plan before they can be developed - after a consultation exercise held in 2018.

However, plans to deallocate 400 hectares of green belt land north of Junction 3 on the M54 have been dropped after officers concluded there was “insufficient justification to progress an exceptional circumstances argument” for its release.

Plans for a garden village in the green belt at Stanmore have also been dropped from the plan in the face of local opposition and the emergence of alternative plans brought forward by housebuilder Taylor Wimpey for a garden village on non-green-belt land at Tasley.

Green belt sites that the plan still proposes for release for development include 220 hectares at RAF Cosford, which is proposed for use by the Ministry of Defence as an aviation academy, an expanded RAF museum and a new headquarters for the Midland Air Ambulance Charity.

Thirty-nine hectares of green belt land at Shifnal is proposed for employment uses and a further 92.8 hectares would be safeguarded for potential future development.

Additional strategic allocations proposed on non-green-belt land include 1,000 homes on the site of the former Ironbridge Power Station. An outline planning application for the site was submitted in December last year.

A 50-hectare site at Clive Barracks is proposed for the development of employment land and 750 homes, of which 600 are expected to be delivered during the plan period.

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