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Shropshire Council is reviewing its local plan, moving it forward by ten years.

The plan is now set to be presented to cabinet on October 18.

Although almost 19,000 homes are already set to be built in the county, the plan says a further 10,000 will be needed by 2036.

Adrian Cooper, planning policy manager at Shropshire Council, said: “Shropshire Council has got a local plan already, the job at hand is keeping it up to date.

“The current plan covers 2006 to 2026, the new plan we’re working on is moving forward by 10 years to 2016 to 2036.

“Back in January we asked the public the big questions in an eight-week consultation and we had about 400 responses from across different sectors.

“This next step is about responding to these comments and starting to take decisions about the preferred approach for the new plan.

“We’ve gone for the highest housing growth, there’s a nine year overlap between the current plan and the plan we’re doing so we’ve got quite a lot that we can count towards that 28,000.

“If you add up those houses that have already been built it comes to 18,583, so the new housing required by 2036 is 10,347.”

About 300 hectares of employment development would be earmarked under the new plans.

Mr Cooper added: “We’re looking to deliver a balance between the level of housing and employment.”

The extra 10,347 houses are mostly planned for the towns in Shropshire, with 30 per cent planned for Shrewsbury, 24.5 per cent planned for the bigger towns such as Market Drayton, and Whitchurch, 18 per cent for smaller towns such as Much Wenlock and Bishop’s Castle, and 27.5 per cent for rural areas.

Mr Cooper added: “It will focus the development in towns. About 70 per cent of the development will be in towns.”

Green belt land in Shropshire could also be released for development under the new local plan.

Mr Cooper said: “The green belt is very specific planning designation.

“Shropshire’s green belt was established in the 1970s, it includes the land east of the River Severn and south of the A5, land around Shifnal, Claverley, Alveley, Quatt.

“The planning inspector we had last time instructed us that we had to do this.

“We’ve got a specialist consultant who has done a piece of work which will be published looking at the green belt in Shropshire and has divided it up in manageable chunks.

“They have measured how well these chunks of land are performing as green belt.

“We will then look at what the impact would be if we were to release that land. It then falls to Shropshire Council to see how we want to run with that.”

The housing growth of 28,000 is equivalent to an average of 1,430 homes being built a year.

Ian Kilby, planning services manager, said: “In the recession there were about 800 houses built per year, and last year we had 1,910 delivered.

“It’s only a few years ago that next to no houses were being built.

“There was significant more development last year that what would be happening.”

But as of this year, there were more than 11,000 cases where planning permission has been granted for homes, where construction is yet to start.

Mr Cooper said: “We are to some extent dependent on our colleagues in the industry to build the houses. If they don’t build them it impacts on us.”

Mr Kilby said: “We’re trying to get the industry to raise its game on quality, so this year we’ve brought in industry awards.”

There will now be an eight-week public consultation on the plan, which will start on October 27 and close on December 22.

Source: Shropshire Star

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