New lease of life for beauty spot?

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Border Counties)

A beauty spot which hit the headlines after it was put forward for future housing could now have an alternative use.

The Swan Hill Depot has been identified as having a possible use for businesses and is one of the key priorities for Shropshire Council’s Outdoors Partnership Scheme in 2017/18.

Its future was discussed by the Great Outdoors Strategy Team at Shirehall on Thursday.

Outdoor Partnerships Enterprise manager Clare Fildes said: “Income generation will continue to be a key activity of the service, with a target of £400,000 in 2017/18.

“In addition to existing activity, the following is planned – a new wood fuel business; development of a charitable foundation; an extension to the visitor centre at Severn Valley Country Park; options analysis for Swan Hill Depot at Ellesmere; consultation on introducing car parking charges on key sites; opportunities for business advertising on Shropshire’s Great Outdoors website.

“As mentioned above, the Local Access Forum will be replaced by the Shropshire’s Great Outdoors Strategy Board, helping further raise the profile of access and outdoor recreation to the health, economic and environmental agendas.”

The site was at the centre of controversy two years ago when plans were put forward by CMS JAW to build up to nine homes on it, however, it received strong objections from residents and town councillors, and was refused by the North Shropshire Planning Committee and again at appeal.

During that time Ellesmere Town Council failed in its attempt to make the site an Asset of Community Value to protect it from development and secure its use in the long-term for community events at the nearby Cremorne Gardens and The Mere for which it has been used for more than 35 years as a thoroughfare and parking area.

The site is owned by Shropshire Council.

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