We need smart growth, not the dumb growth Shropshire Council is planning

Shropshire Council has published its draft plans for development in Shropshire up to 2036. This is an old-fashioned plan based on hopes and dreams rather than the realities of being a rural county. It looks north to an HS2 hub at Crewe, hoping to spill development associated with that railway junction into Shropshire. It looks east to Wolverhampton. It is desperate to extend the West Midlands conurbation beyond Telford across the green belt into the fields that make our county so attractive.

This draft planning policy is far too dependent on what happens outside the county. It will live or fall on infrastructure developments over which we have no control. We should instead be concentrating on increasing our local skills and firing up new local businesses.

The plan is not a smart growth agenda. Smart growth minimises transport demands and concentrates on increasing education, skills and entrepreneurship. Smart growth achieves higher income without sprawling housing estates and huge industrial sheds across the countryside. It embeds the environment and quality of life from day one. It champions sustainable transport and lower energy use.

This draft planning policy is dumb growth, not smart growth.

Any plan we set out for the next twenty years must look a century ahead. Where do we want to be? How do we want to live?

We don’t want to be an extension of Crewe, or of Wolverhampton or Telford. We want to be Shropshire. We want to remain a very green county. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to push for economic growth. But we should do it in a smart, environmentally friendly way that protects our natural and historic environment. Above all, it should ensure that Shropshire remains a very special county and doesn’t become just like anywhere else.

This is the third in a series of posts on the local plan review.

2 comments on We need smart growth, not the dumb growth Shropshire Council is planning

  1. Draft Plan.
    You state “increasing local skills and firing up new businesses”
    You get absolutely no help getting a business started in Ludlow, you fight every step of the way. You sit putting pen to paper in your ideal world, but try putting up thousands of pounds and using your home as Security to borrow money to get a business of the ground. Inward investment in Ludlow is required, but if you look from a business point of view you would not put Ludlow anywhere close to the top of the list to start a business. There’s a shortage of homes, and it appears to me every application you moan and object to. How long has it taken to get the new filling station from application to approval / building?? Small local businesses could never hope to develop sites such as this due to the time it takes in the planning process. The glass is either half empty or half full….why not run with the half full glass and help getting more homes built and new businesses started in Ludlow??

    When I arrived n Shropshire over 25 years ago i had a letter published about the Theatre in Shrewsbury. The original design was for a larger capacity auditorium which would have made more sense economically but I argued that to support a theatre you needed middle class institutions like a university or conservatoire. Slowly that will taking shape. We now need more arts investment.
    We need more renewable industry and I don’t mean Solar PV fields – we need wind turbines and they need to be community owned so the money goes back into the community.
    We need better transport links – electrification to Shrewsbury through Telford to Birmingham is the least that should happen in the next 5 years.
    We need to support specialist agriculture, sustainable both in terms of being predominantly organic but also producing its own energy. We are unique in that the land lends itself to small development.
    A county wide Green umbrella company, as suggested by Clive Wright needs to be funded straight away to offer small grants but more importantly give a corporate marketing front.
    We need to change our view of health provision so that it is more local and more health then disease.
    We need a totally new approach to teaching in our schools so children leave with skills not bits of paper.
    So there is a start for an agenda what next?

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