PLANS for a new affordable housing development are set to be approved next week despite opposition from councillors and nearby residents.

Wrekin Housing Trust wants to build 20 homes on a site off Weston Road in Morda, and Shropshire Council planning officers say the scheme should be approved by the northern planning committee when it meets next week.

The housing association says the development will provide much-needed one- and two-bed bungalows and two- and three-bed houses for local people.

But Oswestry Rural Parish Council and five members of the public have objected to the plans, saying the village is already over-developed, the primary school is at capacity and further building will add to existing flooding problems.

Morda is classed as ‘open countryside’ in planning policy terms, meaning new development is usually resisted. Exceptions can however be made for 100 per cent affordable housing schemes where a local need can be demonstrated.

A report by planning officer Mark Perry says there are currently 29 households waiting for a property in the village.

Mr Perry says that despite being classed as ‘countryside’, Morda is a “recognisable” and “well-defined settlement”, with a primary school, pub, village shop and sports and social facilities, and with a footpath link to the nearest secondary school in Oswestry 0.7km away.

The report says: “It is considered that the proposed site is in an appropriate location for an ‘exception site’.

“It is situated adjacent to the existing built development called The Ashes; although they are separated by the width of the access drive which leads to an industrial unit to the north.

“The Ashes was also approved as a 100 per cent affordable housing scheme which was granted planning permission in 2012 and comprised of 21 dwellings.

“The proposed development would be close to existing housing and close enough to the facilities and services within the village to be accessed on foot or by bicycle.

“The services available in Oswestry would also be accessible given the continuous footpath into the town and also the availability of a bus service.

“It is therefore considered, by officers, that the location of the development as an exception site and the need for the affordable housing meets the policy criteria.”

The report also rejects the parish council’s claim that the village school is over-subscribed, saying there are currently 13 spaces and this is forecast to rise to 29 within the next four years.

It adds: “It is recognised that there are more children living in the catchment than the school has places for, but the trend at present is for pupils to go elsewhere and therefore it is not expected that there will be a requirement in the short term for extra places at the school.”

The application will be decided by the northern planning committee at a meeting next Tuesday, June 8.