KEEPING young professionals and businesses in the county are behind plans to bring major housing developments to the area.

Adrian Cooper, planning policy and strategy manager for Shropshire Council, said the authority’s Local Plan is not designed to upset residents – despite several complaints about sites being put aside for large scale development.

Instead he said there is a major need for housing in the county and by developing larger sites, the county would benefit from contributions to the Community Infrastructure Levy.

Mr Cooper said housebuilders could construct a small number of homes without paying the levy, which is then used as funding for local schemes.

But with big developments, the developer is responsible for paying a “pounds per square metre” levy which would be reinvested in the community.

Large sections of land have been highlighted for housing in the county as part of the plan, including in Shifnal and Bridgnorth.

Mr Cooper said: “Shropshire Council has to keep on top of its Local Plan and it is vital that we do so because otherwise we will lose out.

“We have got to keep on top of this and ensure it is relevant and tailored to the county’s needs.

“I am worried about the number of young professionals who can’t afford to get on the housing ladder in Shropshire, unless we get the type of housing they need and can afford they are going to keep leaving the area.

“In addition to that big firms will do the same. They want to have these people working for them and if they are not living here and it is too far to commute, they won’t attract the kind of staff they want and then they will move their business away.”

Mr Cooper said he had sympathy with people who don’t want major housing developments built near to them, but said his hands were tied.

“Nobody wants to think of a big development being built near them,” he said.

“It is universally unpopular, but it is all about adapting to what the county needs and how we can make the most of it.

“If we accept smaller developments they don’t have to pay CIL money nor include statutory affordable housing requirements, whereas we would benefit from larger developments.”

He added that although one round of consultation into the Local Plan was now closed, people had not lost their chance to have their say.

“There will be another consultation, most probably later this year,” he said.

“And then it all gets presented to a Planning Inspector who will hold a public inquiry and people can get involved.

“There’s a long way to go, but I wanted to ensure that people understand some of the reasons behind areas that are earmarked.”