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Greens object to proposal to build in Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

8th March 2019

The South Shropshire Green Party has today (7 February 2019) submitted an 8 page objection to Shropshire Council urging the deletion of greenfield sites in Church Stretton which have been identified as sites for new housing.

Shropshire Council has selected two greenfield sites in Church Stretton for new housing. They are CSTO 20 NW of Gaerstone Farm and CSTO 21 Snatchfield Farm (available here).

Neither of these sites are suitable for new housing and our objection goes into some detail on 4 reasons why the site allocation should be cancelled.

  • The site is in an AONB and there is a presumption that the AONB designation brings with it a high level of protection from suburban development (housing, roads, street lighting, car parking).
  • The development of this site for housing is contrary to established principles of sustainable development including the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions in line with recent scientific advice from the IPCC.
  • The development is a car-dependent site and totally unsuited to the promotion of walking, cycling and bus use as alternatives to the car.
  • The development is unrelated to the needs of the local area for high quality, affordable, energy efficient housing and like many other greenfield sites the new homes will not assist local people and those who wish to remain in the Church Stretton area.

We support and agree with the Church Stretton Civic Society three principal points and these are.

  • The objections to CSTO 20 NW of Gaerstone Farm and CSTO 21 Snatchfield Farm.
  • The objection to the policy of Shropshire Council to exclude sites of less than 0.5ha from consideration for allocated sites that ignores specific guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework which stresses the importance of small and medium sized sites and encourages the allocation of sites no larger than 1ha.
  • The potential to develop small brownfield town centre sites for around 40 apartments as much needed affordable or low-cost market homes (CSTO 1, 2 and 17)"

Commenting on the attempts of Shropshire Council to introduce damaging and inappropriate development into an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Hilary Wendt, Co-ordinator, South Shropshire Green Party said:

"We think the proposed developments are the wrong sort of housing in the wrong place!

"Instead we ask that Shropshire Council produce a costed plan to provide new homes on smaller sites within Church Stretton - rather than developments on the town's outskirts.

"We need planning fit for the future and for local needs - therefore we call on Shropshire Council to ensure that any new housing is genuinely affordable, meets the highest possible standard of energy efficiency, and built sustainability, and is within easy reach of shops, GPs, community facilities and schools .If new housing is inserted into the town then it makes it easier for people to use public transport, or walk or cycle to get around.

"So we can have the homes without doing the damage that we now know car dependent development does to our air quality, our health and our quality of life.

"We need to make sure that any new housing in Church Stretton is the right sort in the right place. We need to make sure that any new houses are built to the standards we need for our sustainable future.

"It is now up to Shropshire Council to respond to the many well-founded objections to the greenfield sites designated for new housing and to explore sites in the town itself that do exist and are more than capable of meeting local housing needs"

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