Tesni, the company that is planning to build 215 houses between Bromfield Road and the A49, has applied to remove the controversial foot and cycle bridge across the Corve to Fishmore View.
This action follows my requests on behalf of Fishmore View residents. They are concerned that their quiet cul de sac will become clogged with parked cars and become a through route if the bridge is built. We have until the end of the month to comment on the application, which I hope will be approved.
In November 2015, a planning inspector based in Bristol approved plans for 215 homes off Bromfield Road and the A49. The South Planning Committee had previously rejected the scheme twice but the arguments the committee members made for doing so were more emotional than sound planning. Shropshire Council decided not to present evidence in defence of the committee decision at the planning inquiry.
The developer, Tesni, was more than happy to remove the Fishmore View footbridge from the plans. It offered to do so before the scheme went to the South Planning Committee. But when it came to the planning inquiry, its legal team unexpectedly decided to fight for the footbridge. I was a lone voice arguing that the bridge should not be given planning consent. But the planning inspector was unsympathetic to local arguments.
In his report approving the housing scheme, the inspector said that while the Fishmore View bridge provided a means of pedestrian and cycle access, the proposed development would be sustainable without it. Both Shropshire Council and the developer had told the inquiry they would be content for the scheme to be approved without the footbridge. But the inspector approved the footbridge anyway.
Now Tesni want the footbridge removed. They are applying for a variation in the planning consent to delete the footbridge from the planning application (16/04545/VAR). This huge footbridge would be more than 250 metres long (275 yards) and soar 7 metres (23 feet) above the bed of the River Corve.
I have been in correspondence with Tesni and its agent, Advanced Land and Planning, for some months. This is noted in the planning application from Tesni, which states:
The applicant has submitted this application in response to a request from Councillor Boddington on behalf of local residents, so as to provide the Council with the opportunity to review the need for the river crossing and to delete reference to it in response to community objection, if it so wishes.
Everyone seems agreed that this development will be sustainable without the footbridge. Twenty-three of the 27 households on Fishmore View that responded to my survey in June 2014 said they were resolutely against the bridge.
I will be supporting the application to remove the footbridge from the development plans.
The original site layout with Corve footbridge
The revised layout without footbridge
Right now, I am concentrating on the footbridge. Once that is resolved, we need to look at other aspects of the scheme.
The housing is above the floodplain in Flood Zone 1. The proposed parkland alongside the River Corve lies in Flood Zones 2 and 3. As everyone knows, this area floods every couple of years. We will need a community safety scheme to ensure that children and people with dementia aren’t exposed to risks. This might also mean planting hedges or erecting a fence to delineate the area that floods.
The new flood action group, part of the Friends of the Corve and Teme, will want to look at the arrangements for SuDS – sustainable drainage systems that reduce the risk of flooding.
I would hope in the longer term we can develop a footpath under the railway bridge along the river to Corve Bridge. This would give the residents a short route to the town centre and would also provide a link to the store that has approval on the site of Brian Mear Bricks. Of course, this route could only be used when the Corve is not in flood. That is another reason for establishing a community safety scheme as soon as the first residents move in.
. Extracts from the inspector’s report. “It is to be borne in mind that the Appellants and the Council are agreed that the sustainability credentials of the appeal site would not be unacceptably reduced if the pedestrian and cycle link via the proposed Fishmore View bridge were deleted from the proposals, and that its deletion could be achieved by a suitable planning condition imposed upon any outline permission granted. The Appellants and the Council would be content to accept such arrangement and there is nothing in the evidence to contradict this shared view of the Appellants and Council or preclude that approach… On a balance of judgement, the broad public benefits of the Fishmore View bridge to the proposed development and the community at large are significant, compared with the essentially local amenity concerns of FFV. Even though the proposed development would be sustainable without the Fishmore View bridge, its retention within the appeal development as proposed is therefore justified, as a suitable means of pedestrian and cycle access.”