Campaigners working to stop development of land in Wem that they believe will worsen flooding in the area say they have instructed legal advisors to send a formal letter to Shropshire Council over plans for a judicial review.

Fletcher Homes, developers based in Shrewsbury, have been given permission to build 25 dwellings on the land by Shropshire Council, despite huge objections by nearby residents, Shropshire councillors and Wem Town Council too.

The Roden Grove Action Group, acting for all residents concerned with trying to halt the development, say its legal team have been instructed to not only send the letter but investigate all the finer details of the timeline of the development.

A statement issued ion its behalf said: "We have instructed their barrister to issue a formal letter informing Shropshire Council of a Judicial Review that will scrutinize the initial planning process associated with the then proposed development of land off Roden Grove in Wem.

"The Action Group's barrister will also be investigating the removal of a section of an ancient hedgerow that separates Roden Grove from the land which is to be developed; deeds obtained by the Action Group from the Land Registry clearly show that at the time of the breach, to gain access to the site, the hedge was not owned by the landowner of the field which is to be built on, nor by the developers, Fletcher homes.

"The field forms part of an ancient water meadow that contains significant archaeology which probably goes back to the medieval period. The breached hedge dates back to before the 19th century and was home of rare fauna until it was breached in 2015 and again in 2018, apparently without permission of its undisclosed owner.

"Both the developer, the owner of the land to be developed and Shropshire Council have ignored this major detail and are so far unable to show legal right of access to the development site.

"Clearly no building work should take place until the ownership of the hedge is fully resolved. The Roden Grove Action Group expect complete honesty and transparency over this issue; factors that seem to have been absent in the past.

"We are totally disgusted in the way Shropshire Council have behaved over this and other planning applications; they appear to have a total disregard for the planning process and the transparency that should go with it.

Requests for the outline application to be decided by the (North Shropshire) planning committee were ignored at a ‘behind closed doors meeting’ held by the then chairman and vice chairman of the planning committee.

"It was only several months later that Shropshire councillor Chris Mellings stumbled on the fact that application had already been approved under the council’s scheme of delegation; no one had been told of this; even the Section 106 Planning agreement appears to have been signed with undue haste.

"The Action Group feel that justice needs to be done and are saddened that due process and procedure has not been followed through correctly; surmising that if it had been this highly contentious and damaging development would not have been allowed.

"We also feel that there has been a lack of transparency from the planning committee and senior officers of the council."

Fletcher Homes have previously moved to assure residents that their plans for the 25 dwellings have factored in water levels and will provide for sufficient drainage.