Residents' fury as changes to West Felton housing development are backed

Reporter:

Emily Davies

Furious residents in West Felton have hit out after Shropshire Council backed changes to a controversial planning application just days after they were amended.

The 25-home estate is set to be built on land at The Cross in the centre of the village.

Reserved matters were submitted in November 2016, but a complete change to the proposed layout because of the developers moving the open space was added on December 18, 2017, and has subsequently been backed by principal planning officer Karen Townend ahead of Tuesday’s North Planning Committee meeting.

Resident Chris Jones said: “There has been a limited consultation period over Christmas and many people have been away on holiday; some people haven’t even received a consultation letter or email about the changes.

“A major redesign like this should have a 21 day consultation period and that has been whittled down to 14 days, while the parish council hasn’t even been notified.”

Also going before Tuesday’s meeting is a variation to remove the proposed footpath on the side of the estate and instead widen the footpath on the other side of Holyhead Road which would lead to a narrowing of the road.

The statutory consultation period for that application ends on January 20, however the change has been recommended for approval despite the highways department requesting further information as it feels the kerb-line change is “severe and isolated”.

West Felton Parish Council gave its objection to the footpath change in December saying the narrowing of the road by more than a metre will struggle to serve the “extensive farm traffic” and buses that use the road.

The council has now called on the meeting to be deferred and the application be resubmitted in its entirety on the grounds that it is a “fundamental or substantial” modification to the proposal which was initially approved.

It has led to chairman Councillor Ed Nicholas writing to Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting describing the variation as “fundamentally flawed”.

Cllr Pat Mabe added: “Buses and tractors will have to mount the pavement if they are going to get through – it’s an accident waiting to happen.

“They haven’t consulted Arriva or completed a traffic survey, in truth they’ve got themselves into a pickle.”

The outline application was initially refused by the committee, which is made up of Shropshire councillors, but later approved by the Planning Inspectorate at appeal in November 2015.

A spokesperson for Shropshire Council said: “The council received amended plans on December 18 and instructions were sent to business support officers to re-consult neighbours, any resident who had commented on the application, the parish council and consultees. The planning file notes that a re-consultation was carried out and that a letter was sent to the parish council.

“There is no legal requirement for a council to re-consult on receipt of amendments. Shropshire Council undertakes re-consultations where changes may affect neighbouring properties or alter the comments received. The re-consultation period was set at 14 days as this would provide an opportunity for people to comment. However, the council can also continue to receive comments on applications up to the day before committee.

“The issues of safety of the proposed changes to the footpath are to be considered by the North Planning Committee at their meeting. The planning officer’s advice and recommendation to members is provided in the committee report but committee will take the decision.”

Email:

emily.davies@nwn.co.uk

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