Press Release issued by Save Newport Campaign April 7 2014

Future development must take place on brownfield land to maximise Telford’s potential – NOT on greenfield or greenspaces.


Following last week’s humiliating defeat in the Court of Appeal, suffered by Telford and Wrekin Council (TWC) and developer St. Modwen, when they lost on all grounds they had appealed against the 2012 decision of a Planning Inspector that TWC’s greenfield land in Station Road, Newport was not a ‘sequentially preferable’ site to a rival brownfield site owned by a local developer, the Save Newport Campaign (SNC) has written to the Leader of TWC, Cllr. Kuldip Sahota.


In the light of Lord Justice Sullivan in the Court of Appeal asking why the case had ever been brought before the court, SNC asks the Leader of the Council that he separately and urgently instructs his officers to review legal advice from a barrister, believed to be from the same legal Chambers as those who advised on the case for the Court of Appeal, which in October 2013 led TWC to cut at a stroke its future housing land supply from about 13 years to just 2.5 years and to postpone the publication of the draft Local Plan (Shaping Places) for at least 12 months to April 2015.


The net effect of this unprecedented and sudden huge reduction in housing land supply and the postponement of the publication of the draft Local Plan this month, is that house builder developers can continue to choose any green space they like to apply for planning permission in the TWC area, whether in market towns and rural areas or green spaces in the urban areas of Telford.


SNC has been calling upon TWC for some months to publish both the legal advice and details of the process that hugely reduced the housing land supply. TWC have so far refused to produce this information.

Cllr. Meredith said ‘ TWC have seemingly spent millions of pounds since 2010 on legal and other expert costs, in-house and external, fighting against alternative sites for a hypermarket store In Newport but are not prepared to stand behind a 13 year housing land supply and fight greedy developers who pursue greenfield land in preference to brownfield sites. The irony is that the Government’s own Homes and Communities Agency, has large amounts of land in Telford specifically designed and equipped for Telford’s future development at taxpayer expense, which has been sitting untouched for several decades.


” We therefore call on Secretary of State Eric Pickles to take urgent action to enforce the brownfield first policy as TWC by its actions in October 2013, has in effect allowed a developers free for all to the detriment of the Borough and the waste of earlier public investment in Telford”.


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