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Bridgnorth District Local Plan

So the Local Plan has been assessed by the Planning Inspector, with some mixed messages for Bridgnorth District & for the Council.

The Inspector considered over 2000 representations, amounting to 1687 objections.

In Summary, the number of houses required to be built under the plan has been drastically reduced and the time frame for their construction has also been extended (2016).

The impact on Tasley has been reduced with the allocation either side of Church Lane deleted. The remaining allocation between Wenlock Rd and the by-pass has had it’s quota increased from 190 to 300 dwellings. The reference to the proportion of affordable housing being sought on allocations has been deleted. To offset some of this the Inspector has supported allocating the College site for a hotel & housing.

Whilst it greaves me to be loosing the college, having campainged to keep a constructive presensence in Bridgnorth, I do recognise that there is a massive demand for Hotel Accomodation in Bridgnorth. This site is a prime site for a Hotel which will pick up passing trade, allow us to ratain vissitors for longer and bring more vissitors to Bridgnorth. We need to recognise that Bridgnorth is a tourist town and do everything we can to increase our all year round capacity for tourism. Building a large hotel will go some way to securing this. However, traders in Bridgnorth will have an effective glass ceiling on their ambitions until the District Council increases car parking capacity.

If the College is to dissapear I would have prefered to see the mixture of economic development, affordable housing & cultural use advocated by John Gorman. The eventual development of housing will be welcome as long as there is a sufficient allocation of affordable housing.

In my view, the Wenlock Rd news is good news for two reasons:

  1. Increased density will mean more affordable houses. A developer will still want to build big houses for profit, but they also have to build more smaller unity in-order to achieve the required density.
  2. Less green field land will be swallowed up by development

Local residents may not take the same view as they will loose the green field and some of the view that they have come to know and love. However, if the truth be told, this site was destined for infilling with houses as soon as the by-pass was built regardless of what anybody said to the contrary at the time.

I have long argued that the percentage allocation for affordable housing needs to be much higher in Bridgnorth. For several years, Bridgnorth has seen a decline in the proportion of affordable housing. We needed a strong corrective response in order to restore the balance. For too long we have seen in-fill after in-fill development build large houses, whilst property prices have shot up. The shortage of supply, increased commuting to work from Bridgnorth & people moving here to retire, has rendered many people unable to get on to the property ladder. First-time buyers are an increasingly rare sight in Bridgnorth.

With an ageing population Bridgnorth and large dormitory population Bridgnorth is rapidly becoming unsustainable. This is only compounded further by Bridgnorth District Council’s poor record on Economic Development in Bridgnorth. If Bridgnorth is to have thriving local facilities & services it needs strong investment in Economic Develoment, Culture & Tourism to create quality jobs locally.