Nearly 50 homes are set to be built in a north Shropshire village under plans expected to be approved by councillors next week.

Gleeson Homes wants to build 48 houses on a field behind the fish and chip shop in Prees Heath, but the plans have met with opposition from nearby residents and 102 people signing a petition against the scheme.

A further 20 letters of objection were also received by Shropshire Council’s planning department, saying a development of this scale was not suitable for its rural setting.

The town council objected on similar grounds, saying it would be a car-dependant development due to there being no school and few jobs in the village. Two members of the public supported the application.

The developer said the properties would give local first time buyers the chance to get onto the housing ladder. The homes will be sold for less than market value and will not be sold to landlords, with sales to include a ‘no rental’ covenant in perpetuity.

While only 25 of the 48 houses meet the council’s requirements for classification as ‘affordable homes’, the company has confirmed all houses will be sold at 20 per cent below market value.

A report by planning officer Richard Denison to the committee says: “This development represents a real opportunity to provide a significant boost to affordable and low-cost home ownership within the Whitchurch rural area.

“Prees Heath has a number of local key community facilities, with good access to Whitchurch and available public transport making this a sustainable settlement for residential development.

“The proposed scheme would result in new recreational play facility for the settlement and improvements to the wider public open spaces and will assist the protection of important ecology sites.”

Access to the development will be through the car park of the fish and chip shop, off the A49 Whitchurch Road.

The developer initially planned to build 53 houses on the site but the scheme was revised. The area of public open space has been increased to 2,000 square meters – but is still less than half the size normally required by planning policies, which for a development of this scale would be 4,140 square metres.

Gleeson Homes will make a £148,000 contribution to compensate for this shortfall, which will be secured through a ‘section 106’ agreement. A further £168,000 will also be secured to increase capacity at the nearest primary and secondary schools.

Further concerns have been raised about the proximity of the development to a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), which forms part of Prees Heath Common Local Nature Reserve and is the the last sanctuary for the silver-studded blue butterfly in the Midlands.

The report concludes: “The open market dwellings will be modestly priced and bridge the gap between the much larger and more expensive detached properties which have been built within the settlement and local area over the recent years.

“The layout, scale and design of the dwellings is similar to other developments approved within rural settlements and will respect the built-up frontage along the main A49 and will not be viewed in a highly prominent location.

“The dwellings will respect neighbouring properties and will not result in any significant detrimental impact from either overlooking or loss of privacy, causing an overbearing impact or loss of light.

“Vehicle movements will not result in any significant increase in noise and disturbance.”

The application will be decided by Shropshire Council’s northern planning committee at a meeting on Tuesday, November 10.