DRAFT SHROPSHIRE LOCAL PLAN
Anyone interested in the future of Shropshire’s countryside and rural settlements should be aware of just what is being proposed around you within the Draft Local Plan, which is the culmination of a process which has been going on for nigh on four years already. The latest "informal" consultation on it closed on 30 September 2020, and thanks are due to all who sent in consultation responses - here is the link to our own 40-page response, or to a 3-page summary of it. We now await the next, formal 6-week consultation before the Draft Plan gets examined by a Government planning inspector. You can read the Council's full Draft Plan by clicking on it to the right below, and you can continue to prepare for the next stage, by reading our updated guide to getting to grips with it all.
We continue to think that:
The Draft Plan's targets are too high
Its plans for growth are not sustainable, particularly in view of the declared climate emergency
The process is undemocratic
It still won’t get enough affordable housing built
You can also read more about this in our above consultation response, and in those we made to the four earlier stages of consultation (see below, in reverse order).
Preferred Sites It is lengthy, but does have a 2-page summary!
Our belief that the process is undemocratic is based partly on our re-analysis of the Council's data from the first two consultations. This showed that the electorate are overwhelmingly against the Council’s high housing targets. It is only the development sector, and the Council, that want them. This is the report:
This next formal, 6-week consultation is currently set to straddle Christmas and the New Year, though that is a very tight timetable, because there are usually several months between each consultation, so that comments can be taken on board. After the lengthy public inquiry before a Government Inspector the revised plan is not now expected to be adopted until 2022.
Economic Growth Strategy
The Council has a stated ‘growth culture’ and wants to ‘achieve maximum economic productivity’. There was no reference to sustainability in the consultation documents. We have serious misgivings about this ‘growth, growth, growth’ culture, which is so obviously unsustainable in the long term. There must be more emphasis on addressing the effects of climate change too. Shropshire Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in May 2019 will not in practice do this: they still think they can carry on with growth as usual.
Shropshire Council's Final Economic Growth Strategy (July 2017) is here.
The Council wants Shropshire to be “the best place to do business and invest” and wants a “step-change” to “maximise our economic potential and increase productivity” and to make its economy bigger and better. Is that really a realistic, or even sensible, ambition for a beautiful rural county that is currently 33rd out of 41 English Counties on economic performance?
Updated October 2020