A controversial Oswestry housing development site looks to have been spared after it was dropped from Shropshire Council’s new local plan.

The latest version of the plan, published this afternoon, sees land at Snatcfield Farm in Church Stretton and off Trefonen Road in Oswestry, removed from the list of potential housing sites.

Meanwhile a proposed site for 60 homes off Weston Rhyn’s High Street has been withdrawn in favour of an alternative site for the same number of properties off Trehowell Lane.

Land allocated for business growth near Battlefield Roundabout on the A5 to the north of Shrewsbury has also be dropped from the plan.

Revised proposals by Bradford Estates for green belt land at junction three of the M54 near Tong failed to win over planning officers who have maintained their stance that the site is unsuitable.

Likewise the council’s view has remained unchanged in backing proposals for a ‘garden village’ to the west of Bridgnorth at Tasley over rival plans for green belt land at Stanmore to the east.

The new ‘regulation 19’ draft of the plan, which sets out where housing and economic development will be focussed across the county until 2038, is expected to be signed off by the authority’s cabinet on December 7 and will then go out to another round of public consultation for seven weeks.

Oswestry Town Council had expressed concerns over the Trefonen Road site's inclusion in the local plan, which would have seen it earmarked for about 30 new homes, and had asked for it to be removed from the local plan.

Eddie West, principal planning policy officer, said the changes to site allocations had been made to reflect some of the concerns raised in the 2,600 responses to the previous stage of consultation over the summer.

Mr West said: “For Church Stretton and Oswestry, both of those parcels of land received quite significant levels of objection.

“We don’t only look at levels of objection, we look at the comments made – it’s not a referendum.

“In Church Stretton and Oswestry we have looked again at our site assessments process and we feel it’s appropriate that those sites can be removed from the plan.”

The Snatchfield Farm site had been the only major housing site allocated in the Church Stretton ‘place plan area’, one of 18 covering the whole county, but Mr West said the council was confident its housing target for that area could be met through smaller, more sensitive developments.

He said: “In allocating land somewhere like Church Stretton, where it sits in the Shropshire Hills AONB, national policy sets the bar higher with regard to releasing land for significant housing development in those areas.

“On the back of consultation responses and having reassessed, we feel as though we can meet the target in the town over the plan period.”

On Weston Rhyn, Mr West said: “We are proposing to change the site proposal to one we believe is a better option and we believe will be more supported by the parish council.”

Mr West said the two Bridgnorth garden village proposals had been “reassessed based on more up to date information” but the same conclusion had been reached in favour of Tasley.

He added that Bradford Estates, which had previously spearheaded plans for 3,000 homes, employment land, schools and open space near Tong, had come forward with scaled-down proposals for employment land only.

Mr West said: “We have re-appraised that and continue to think there are insufficient reasons we would release that land from the green belt.”

The council is now also proposing to accept 30 hectares of employment land need from the Association of Black Country Authorities (ABCA), having already agreed to take on 1,500 houses to help ABCA achieve its housing targets.

Mr West said this was partly down to the council’s legal ‘duty to cooperate’ with neighbouring authorities, as well as the fact Shropshire had already set targets for housing and employment which were above the minimum required.

He said: “We feel because the council has set a very aspirational agenda around economic growth we can accommodate a part of their unmet employment land need in the same way we can accommodate part of their housing need.”

The local plan sets out the council’s ambitions to see more than 30,000 properties built in the county over the plan period, of which 25 per cent are to be ‘affordable’ homes.

It includes ‘strategic sites’ at the former Ironbridge Power Station, Tern Hill Barracks and RAF Cosford.

Following the next consultation round, the plan will need to be signed off by the full council before being submitted for government examination. It is expected to be adopted in early 2022.