PLANNING IN SHROPSHIRE
Shropshire is a largely rural county. It is known for its tranquillity, its beautiful countryside and its attractive market towns and villages.
However, that also brings pressure for new housing from local people wishing to stay in the area, but also from people retiring into Shropshire and from would-be commuters.
Currently, Shropshire like many counties, faces a huge challenge to find the right number of houses and the right kind of houses without compromising its environment and the setting of its historic market towns, villages and hamlets.
The effects of the relentless growth of development over time are graphically shown in the CPRE presentation featured to the right (orange box).
The Campaign to Protect Rural England has consistently argued that the overall housing targets are too high and that more emphasis should be placed on affordable housing and homes to meet the needs of the ageing population.
DEVELOPMENT IN OPEN COUNTRYSIDE
Shropshire is under threat in many areas from inappropriate housing and commercial developments. Many of these are planned for open countryside, on the outskirts of our hamlets, villages and towns and even in the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and the Green Belt.
SHROPSHIRE PLANNING POLICY
Shropshire Council’s planning policies are set out in two main documents, which are now being reviewed (see below). Firstly, the Core Strategy (adopted in February 2011) sets out the Council’s vision, objectives, and the broad spatial strategy to guide future development and growth in Shropshire over the period from 2006 to 2026. Secondly, the Site Allocations and Management of Development document (adopted in December 2015 and usually called SAMDev) then allocates particular sites for housing, employment etc. Both documents are here.
CPRE Shropshire also encompasses Telford & Wrekin Council (which was part of the old Shropshire County Council until 1998). Its new Local Plan was adopted by full Council on 11th January 2018 (see here at the bottom, Appendix 5 under Appendix D4 Telford & Wrekin Local Plan).
These Local Plan documents have to conform with overall National policies, now enshrined in the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) of July 2018 (see here) which updated the original version of March 2012 (see here). The NPPF, with its presumption in favour of ‘sustainable’ development, can ‘trump’ the Local Plan in some circumstances and bring about otherwise unplanned development.
Shropshire Council’s current Core Strategy incorporates a target for the Unitary Area of 27,500 net additional homes for 2006-26; the bulk of the development would be in Shrewsbury where approximately 6,500 dwellings were envisaged. The latest review for 2016-36 proposes 28,750 new homes for the whole county, with 8,625 for Shrewsbury. See below for more detail about this review.
CPRE Shropshire opposed the target figures above. At the Examination in Public, which occurred shortly before the Adopted Core Strategy was released, CPRE Shropshire argued that the figures were unnecessarily high. We advocated an overall target of no more than 20,000; however, the Inspector was not persuaded.
LOCAL PLAN AND LOCAL PLAN REVIEW
A review of Shropshire Council’s Local Plan is now well under way, covering the period up to 2036. It is based partly on local evidence about the county's own housing market, as captured in its Full Objectively Assessed Housing Need (see here), but the Council's aspiration is for much more than that.
CPRE Shropshire responded to the first round of consultation in March 2017 and to the second round in December 2017 and more information about this can be found here. We have also responded to the Council’s consultation on its Draft Economic Growth Strategy, here. Our analysis of the consultation responses shows that the electorate are overwhelmingly against the Council’s high growth targets; it is only the development sector and the Council that favour them.
Telford & Wrekin Council’s housing target is now for approximately 17,280 net new dwellings up to 2031. This is against an Objectively Assessed Need of 15,000 new dwellings. The consultancy firm that produced their OAN stated that there is nothing in National Policy to say that targets should not exceed the OAN. On the contrary, the Government objective ‘to boost significantly the supply of housing’ favours high housing targets, the higher the better so long as development remains deliverable and sustainable.
That does seem to be what Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council are doing with their high housing targets, partly in order to generate more revenue from Council Tax and Business Rates in the vicious climate of cuts to their funding. That, regrettably, is the mind-set we are up against.
HELP WITH PLANNING APPLICATIONS
Please note that CPRE Shropshire is a charity and we rely on volunteers to carry out most of our planning activities. For this reason we are not always able to get involved in individual planning applications, although we will give help and guidance whenever we can to enable you to make your own response to a planning application.
Last updated 2nd July 2019
"How many houses,
what kind of homes?"
A report by Gerald Kells for Shropshire branch of CPRE: ‘How many houses, what kind of homes?’ - urges Shropshire Council to ensure that housing targets match actual need. To read the summary of the report click here
Population, development and the power of compound growth over time
A PowerPoint presentation originally given by Roger Carlyle of CPRE Shropshire, graphically illustrates the effect on Shrewsbury of relentless development over time, putting it in the context of the rise in world population and its pressures on climate change. It is very sobering reading. See here (pdf, 1MB) or here (MS Powerpoint, 3MB).