Plans to build 60 apartments on the Wharf in Ellesmere have already started after Shropshire Council received a grant of £544.507.

The full amount was rewarded from the government after councils were asked to bid from the £45 million Land Release Fund, in order to develop on surplus land that wouldn't be developed.

Ann Hartley, Shropshire Councillor for Ellesmere Urban division, said she is thrilled with the money but there is a long road ahead.

"We didn't say anything about this because we didn't think we were going to get it. We applied for the maximum which was £544,507 and we were very surprised and happy we got the bid. It is the piece of land next to the Tesco carpark which was purchased in 2000 with view to transform it for sheltered housing but that didn't happen. Shropshire Council has tried to market it numerous of times but no-one wanted it.

"It is an old factory site so it is badly affected. There is the old sewage pipe still there that has not been capped so that's causing a mess and it needs clearing up before anything can happen with the development. The Land Release Bid money will be used to decontaminate the land to make it buy-able. The drains are in a bad state and it does need a lot of cleaning before any serious work begins."