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Application for 61 extra houses in Whittington

The proposed residential development of Land Off B5009 and Donnett Close, Whittington, has had some negative local reactions, which isn’t a surprise. This application is inline with the emerging local plan that is still being considered by Planning Inspectors. As I have expressed elsewhere, I have reservations about the draft local, particularly around their land sustainability assessment, the plan being developer-led and without enough proper town planning. If proper town planning were happening at Shropshire Council – like with a Neighborhood Plan – land use would be defined and planned out for the long term. Instead, land is brought forward by landowners and developers. This doesn’t always align with the strategic needs of a settlement. For Whittington, sorting out the traffic issues at Station Road, Top Street, Boot Street, and Church Street needs a proper action plan. Instead, thanks to policy drift and vacuum from Shropshire Council, developers are driving planning policy, often ignoring the needs of local residents. By allowing development to pop up without a strategic plan sequentially, it is impossible to design long-term solutions to these well-known problems. A sound planning framework would allow for development with sufficient strategic oversight to provide the needed infrastructure before development. Infrastructure to match the progress of buildings to school places, traffic levels, and utility capacity. Community Infrastructure Levy can help offset some of that by providing upfront money to Shropshire Council and Whittington Parish Council. Shropshire Council’s record of leveraging CIL money to make genuine infrastructure improvements isn’t great. Often, the improvements are limited and come far too late after development has been completed, never mind before it has started. This development is a gateway development to further land behind Donnett Close and the rectory – possibly as far as the top of Boot Street and Ellesmere Road. So, if the unwritten plan is to link all of this up, will the road junction at Holyhead Road be sufficient for potential future through traffic from Ellesmere? Will the plans add to the existing traffic problems or provide a solution to those problems? A neighbourhood plan would put residents in charge of the shape of Whittington, not developers.

24/02260/FUL|Erection of 61 Dwellings with Associated Access, Open Space, Gardens and Parking areas. The closing date for comments is the 13th of July. To comment and view the plans: https://pa.shropshire.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=SEVMKITDIC400

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