WHITCHURCH Town Council has rejected one of the proposed sites for housing in the town, and narrowly voted in favour of a contentious site off Wrexham Road.
The planning committee discussed the proposed sites for housebuilding and employment land around Whitchurch, put forward by Shropshire Council, last Wednesday.
A public consultation on the council’s Site Allocations and Management of Development (SAMDev) ‘Preferred Options’ document finished on July 20, and the council hopes to report back on issues raised from this by the end of the year and get to the next stage of plan making (the final plan) by Autumn 2013. Final adoption isn’t likely until 2014.
The sites are expected to provide the town with at least 1,000 more houses along with employment land up to 2026.
By a narrow 4/5 vote, the committee decided to back plans for 60 houses off Wrexham Road, (although a larger scheme is being promoted there as a phased development), despite the fact that residents along the road have mounted a determined protest on the grounds that they fear traffic chaos.
The Liverpool Road site for 60 houses was rejected as councillors felt there is enough housing there and there are also concerns about contaminated land surrounding the former abbatoir site there. Councillors recommended that these 60 houses should go on the proposed Tilstock Road site instead, where major development is earmarked including 307 houses.
Councillors felt this site would benefit the town as it includes new football pitches, a cricket pitch and the possibility of a new school in the future when funds become available.
The committee agreed the Mount Farm site off Tarporley Road was a good site for housing, and 100 homes are earmarked, and also approved a proposed site north of Mill Park, Waymills for 15 houses.
Members said they are pleased with the amount of industrial land proposed at Waymills (15 hectares) and with the proposed business park on Heath Road, (11 hectares) but added that the town’s lack of electricity problem must be resolved to enable expansion.
Some late sites have been added for consideration, but the committee could only discuss sites on their list.
The planning committee’s views will go foward to the full town council for ratification when it meets on September 13. Shropshire Council’s senior policy officer Eddie West will attend this meeting to discuss technical issues with councillors.
Simon Lyon, one of the people heading the protest group against the Wrexham Road plan, said he was disappointed with the committee’s decision.
He said members voted against the Liverpool Road proposals on the grounds of overdevelopment and felt this was unfortunate as the same issues exist on Wrexham Road.
“One councillor said the road traffic survey submitted must have been done at midnight as the traffic is bad there, and we have decided to do our own survey and make a comparison,” he said. “I am disappointed councillors did not take in the fact that 460 people - the vast majority of residents there - had signed a petition against the plans.”