Planning Matters.

Some recent issues from the Planning Committee of Shrewsbury Civic Society. October/November 2016. Mike Carter.

1. There is an application to turn Shrewsbury’s Rail Station information hall into a Costa coffee shop. The Civic Society regrets the loss of an information point, thinks this is a reasonable place for a coffee shop but objects to any siting of tables and advertising outside on the forecourt.

2. Beechwood House on Town Walls is a large building stretching back to Belmont Bank. The application for this is welcomed since much of it has been unused and looks unkempt. The Society is keen to see a high quality renovation used as houses and apartments.

3. Manser’s Antiques have been housed in a distinctive and prominent building near the English Bridge. There is an application for the change of use of the building to a vets/animal hospital. The details suggest little amendment to the building’s exterior. However, we feel that the elevations should not be affected by any changes and should remain looking true to its original design. Conservation Planning Officers have identified the cautions needed.

4. Shrewsbury’s Copthorne Barracks have been in the news as an application to turn the site into a “village style” housing estate is contentious. The current application is for Outline Planning consent and does not show the quality of the proposed buildings. (We understand that the government has ruled that redundant MOD land must be used for housing.) The Society has concerns for the lost opportunity for a mixed development that could encourage much needed businesses/employment but also about the proposed high density and loss of sufficient open space. If there is to be housing here, we would encourage maximising the use of the current buildings and leaving more open space (especially the whole parade square). There should be a high quality design and a condition that ensures a full contribution to infrastructure, eg to ameliorate traffic issues and to provide school places.

5. Shrewsbury’s Dana Prison is now the subject of a detailed application. The Civic Society is generally delighted to see a feasible plan for the use and regeneration of the site. Our previous comments have welcomed the imaginative ideas although there were some doubts about traffic and parking issues. These concerns (and others) are being discussed and may lead to amendments to the application.

6. The Stew still stands unloved. An Appeal established that the building may not be demolished but it is in urgent need of repair. An agreement was reached about this last January but never acted on. We are told a new initiative is underway. Meanwhile, knowing its heritage significance, the Civic Society has applied for the building to be listed but we remain extremely concerned.

7. A planning application for developments at the Ditherington Flaxmill has now been made. The Society is delighted to see some progress on this extremely long-running and difficult project. We were invited to view the plans before application and felt that the windows should remain authentic to the original design rather than to those of its later uses. It has now been passed but not using our suggestion .

8. We are pleased to hear that the ivy that was covering the Listed Dovecot to the rear of the Tudor Whitehall has now been removed. The Society had discussed this with the Council. We are seeking to identify other buildings whose current condition mars the town’s built environment.

9. Shrewsbury Civic Society Planning Committee occasionally welcomes colleagues from other Shropshire Civic Societies for meetings with senior staff of Shropshire Planning Authority. These meetings share common concerns and enable updates of the County and National context of planning legislation and the implications for Shropshire’s supply of housing land.

10. There are other ways in which the Society tries to encourage conservation of the best of Shrewsbury’s built heritage and tries to promote the best quality designs for developments. For example, the outcomes of the Awards Scheme are explained elsewhere. (See the November 2016 newsletter.)

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