A multi-million pound investment is proposed for land off the Wrexham Road which could deliver a range of community benefits as well as an improvement scheme for the existing highway network.

Representatives of local landowner and employer Belton Cheese and Shropshire based development company J-Ross Developments presented proposals for a mixed residential development scheme on land off Wrexham Road to Whitchurch Town Council’s planning committee last night.

The proposed scheme, which is currently being promoted through the local development framework plan, is designed to deliver a phased residential development, releasing a range of community benefits, as well as improving the operational safety and capacity of the nearby highway network serving Whitchurch town centre.

It was explained that part of the proposed site is already included as a preferred option in the SAMDev stage of the Local Development Framework, it is considered to be a sustainable form of development with good links via public transport and the existing highway network to the town centre and wider area.  The site benefits from well-defined development boundaries, and is in an area which has been assessed by Shropshire Council to have low landscape sensitivity, unlike many areas to the north of the town, which are much more sensitive.

Rather than releasing the entire site for development in one go Town Councillors heard how the development and infrastructure serving the site could be master planned to allow a phased release of land over the long term. It was felt that a planned flexible approach would offer the ability to meet changing market requirements, whilst also ensuring that the scheme delivered a range of community benefits, which might not otherwise be secured through the piecemeal development of smaller sites.

It was noted that the scheme had originally been designed to accommodate a new primary school, although it was not expected that this would be required in this plan period, other benefits such as affordable housing, community facilitates, allotments and public open space could be accommodated on the site.

The Developer’s also explained the findings of the recent Transport Studies they had undertaken on the Wrexham Road in response to concerns raised by local Councillors. It was confirmed that new traffic data showed that there was some congestion and speed related safety issues on the Wrexham Road. It was noted that these were associated with the on street car parking and two particular pinch points where the road narrows reducing the flow of traffic to just one side of the road.

The Developer’s went on to table a highways improvement scheme, for the Wrexham Road which they claimed would improve the flow of traffic and reduce traffic speeds, helping to improve safety. The scheme involved retaining the on street car parking to minimise the inconvenience for local residents, allowing it to be organised into designated spaces either side of the road, which would allow traffic to move more freely and provide localised traffic calming. The scheme would also introduce a scheme of hard and soft landscaping to provide local amenity improvements.