Councillor Nicola Lowery votes to 'Keep Apley Special'

Last night saw Telford & Wrekin Planning Committee determine the outcome of planning application submitted by Kier Group plc TWC/2015/0843 Land off Peregrine Way, Leegomery, Telford, Shropshire Reserved matters application for 100no. dwellings.

The meeting held at the Whitehouse Hotel was attended by over 150 residents who have shown their support to “Keep Apley Special” as the site boarders the historic Apley Woods.

Planning Committee voted to defer the planning application at the meeting on February 22nd so that further consideration could be given to a number of issues before the application was determined. Those issues were as follows:

* The buffer zone between the development and Apley Woods

* A construction management plan and whether a separate access for construction traffic could be provided

* Whether the traffic lights could be installed before construction commences rather than prior to the first occupation

* The design is too regimented and should better reflect local vernacular

* The proximity of Plot 23.

The application was approved by Councillors at the Planning Committee last night. Cllr Nicola Lowery Ward Member for the Ironbridge Gorge, a member of plans board voted against the application and stated at the meeting:

“I am deeply concerned to learn that Kier were not prepared to meet with the Parish Council, local residents or the Apley Woods Preservation Association since we deferred the application and I am greatly disappointed that the applicant has decided not to make any alterations.”

As members of this committee, I feel we have a moral obligation to protect our natural landscapes, the special character of our Borough and the uniqueness of Apley Woods. Whilst I appreciate the update within the report advising that if committee decide to defer or refuse the application Kier will decide to appeal, I find it completely unacceptable that the applicant would pressurise this committee and have the audacity to suggest that the Council has been unreasonable, when they themselves have failed to engage with the local community, stakeholder and failed to respond to the concerns of this committee.

As Councillors we rely on an informed judgement within a firm policy context and I feel there are defendable reasons to warrant a further deferment as the application conflicts with the principles of local and national policy. This decision will send a clear and constructive message to the developer, to ensure meaningful dialogue can take place with the local community and stakeholders. This will hopefully ensure an outcome that satisfies the commercial interests of the developer and result in an appropriate scheme that enhances the local area and the uniqueness of Apley"