Shropshire Council’s development plans for Bridgnorth

Overview of planned development around Bridgnorth to 2038. We have added the annotations for clarity to the published proposals map available for download here.

Shropshire Council is updating the Local Plan for the County, to guide future development up to 2038. Once it’s formally adopted, the Local Plan will be used as a benchmark for deciding planning applications. The full draft Local Plan includes:

  • Strategic policies about the approach to managing development across the county
  • Development management policies setting out how proposals will be assessed
  • Guidelines on how much development is expected, and where it can take place, for each of the major settlements in the County.

The existing Local Plan has 2 parts. The Shropshire Core Strategy was adopted in 2011, and included the top level “Strategic” policies (including the number of homes to be built and area of land to be developed for employment use) up to 2026. The SAMDev plan, adopted in late 2015, set out the detailed policies for managing development and the development boundaries for Shropshire’s main towns and villages. Within development boundaries, it is accepted that development can occur (subject to detailed planning applications being approved). Areas outside of development boundaries are countryside and development is strictly controlled. SAMDev included guidelines on what would be likely to be acceptable on larger “allocated” sites.

SAMDev moved the development boundary for Bridgnorth & Tasley. The area currently occupied by Bridgnorth Livestock Market and an area of farmland across to Hook Farm was allocated as a site for 500 homes and local facilities The Livestock market is scheduled to relocate to a green field site SW of the A458 Bridgnorth by-pass with an additional area of land next to it allocated for potential employment use. Up to the end of 2020 neither of these sites has progressed to the planning application stage so they have been kept as allocated sites under the latest proposals.

The Local Plan update looks further ahead – up to 2038. There’s now a nationally set guideline for the minimum number of homes Shropshire Council has to plan for; across the County, the Council has chosen to exceed this by just under a fifth. It has also said that it is aiming for “balanced growth” so that 1 new job is created for each additional home built. Development will be focussed on Shrewsbury and the county’s market towns and key centres, together with “strategic sites” (redevelopment of Clive Barracks at Tern Hill and of the Ironbridge Power Station site, plus further growth at RAF Cosford).

The development guideline suggested by Shropshire Council for the Bridgnorth area is 1,800 homes to be built between 2016 and 2038, and 49 Hectares of land to be made available for employment development. After allowing for the areas set aside under SAMDev and an allowance for small developments inside the existing boundary, the Council has proposed that a single major development site should be the main focus of Bridgnorth’s expansion. It is also suggested that the site should be developed along “garden village” principles.

Shropshire Council’s initial preference was to release land from the Green belt at Stanmore and build a garden village there, alongside expanding the current Stanmore Industrial Estate. This formed part of a public consultation between November 2018 and February 2019 (that involved 850 homes to be built by 2036). In Spring 2020 a competing proposal to build a garden village on land SW of the A458 Bridgnorth by-pass at Tasley was put forward and the Council chose this as a preferred option, alongside expanding Stanmore Industrial Estate. There was a further public consultation in August and September 2020 – this was limited in scope due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Shropshire Council’s Cabinet approved a final draft plan in December 2020. The next stage is to consult about whether the plan is “Sound” and legally compliant. The tests of “soundness” are:

  • Positively Prepared (meets identified need)
  • Justified (appropriate, based on evidence)
  • Effective (deliverable)
  • Consistent with national policy

After the consultation ends Shropshire Council is likely to decide to send the draft plan to be looked at by an independent planning inspector. The inspector will advise whether the plan is good enough to be formally adopted and may throw it out entirely or suggest that the Council change it. Your responses to this consultation would then be sent to the inspector with the draft plan, and be taken into account in making the inspector’s decision. Please have your say now, even if you’ve commented before, because this is a different type of consultation – earlier comments will not be sent to the planning inspector. Your response can be about any aspect of the plan – the details for the Bridgnorth area are in policy S3 (page 181 of the plan document).

The deadline for taking part in the consultation is 26th February 2021. Comments have to be submitted on standard forms. The main form for submitting comments is form B. You can send in as many of these as you think is appropriate to cover different issues – it asks you to say what you think is wrong with the plan and how you would like it changed. Forms B are linked to a form A which you only send in once and is about you.

Response forms, guidance on filling them in, and details of what’s in the plan are on the Shropshire Council website at:

https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/…/reg-19-pre-submission…

Thinking of going electric?

Image from Chuttersnap on Unsplash

Grants are available for installing electric vehicle charging points at home if you have a dedicated off-street parking place. The grant covers 75% of the cost of installation up to £350 (including VAT). The scheme is available for qualifying vehicles and charger models, and updated lists of approved installers and eligible vehicles were published during September 2020.

The approved installer will claim the grant and deduct it from their bill, but the customer has to confirm their property’s and vehicle’s eligibility. The Office for Low Emission Vehicle’s guidance is at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/customer-guidance-electric-vehicle-homecharge-scheme

“Bankruptcy” warning for Shropshire Council

Shropshire Council’s precarious financial position and the Coronavirus crisis led its finance chief to warn in July that he might have to make a formal declaration (a Section 114 notice) that it didn’t have enough resources to pay for its spending plans this year. Only one Council has resorted to issuing such a notice in recent times, but at least five more have warned that they may have to do so.

Issuing a S114 notice would prevent the Council from entering into any further financing commitments. It could then only spend money on statutory services such as adult social care and roads until an emergency budget is prepared.

Lib Dem campaigner David Oxtoby commented: “Shropshire Council’s financial position has been perilous for years. The government has been cutting funding for a decade, and rising demand for social care has put a huge strain on the budget. Add a number of poor decisions made by this inept Conservative administration and matters seem to be coming to a crisis.”

LibDem campaigner David Oxtoby

Shropshire Council are due to give a further update on their financial position in September

Using school transport in September

Shropshire Council say that from September:

  • Their home-to-school transport will run at full capacity. They ask that pupils and students avoid using public buses where possible.
  • They will provide extra buses on public routes in rural areas. The extra buses will be just for school children and students. *
  • Pupils should use the same seat every day on school buses. Seating will reflect school year group ‘bubbles’. The eldest pupils will be at the rear and the youngest at the front.

During the journey, pupils should:
– face forwards
– not touch others
– not move out of their seat, and
– avoid loud talking, shouting or singing.

Pupils should follow standard precautions about:
– wearing face coverings
– frequent hand washing
– covering mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing
Pupils should not travel if they are unwell, or if they or any member of their household is showing Covid-19 symptoms. (NHS guide to symptoms is here.)

The Council’s full guidance about school and public transport is at here.

* In the Bridgnorth area the extra services will be on the 436 service for Shrewsbury College and the 9 service from Oldbury Wells and Bridgnorth Endowed to Rudge Heath and Upper Ludstone. More details here https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/media/15962/public-buses-for-school-pupils-students.pdf

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