Homes and care centre plan approved despite concerns over impact on roads
Plans to build 103 new homes and a 70-flat extra care development have been approved, despite concerns the proposals would overwhelm the area’s roads and waterworks.
Developers Countryside had applied to build the estate on land between Arleston Lane and Dawley Road, Arleston.
The plans had previously been deferred by the Telford and & Wrekin planning committee, so highways, drainage and parking could be re-examined.
Arleston councillor Angela McClements acknowledged that the plans had changed, but said concern remained about the size of the project, which will surround Arleston Village in a U-shape, just north of the M54.
Representatives of Countryside and Housing 21, who will manage the care facility, told the committee the development was responding to local need and Severn Trent Water had confirmed the existing drainage network could cope.
A council highways engineer added that the estimated seven per cent rise in rush-hour traffic was “not severe”.
In 2015, planning permission was granted for a 50-unit development and 95 houses on the site, but the building work was never carried out.
Councillor McClements noted that changes had been made to the new, larger, application since it was deferred in December, but told the committee: “You will be aware of resident concern about the size of the development and the significant increase of the size of the extra care facility.”
Glyn Davey, who lives on nearby Arleston Village, pointed out that the planning officers’ report said the size of the development had been increased to make it “viable”.
“The word ‘viability’ occurs several times,” he said.
“Viability’ suggests economic intent. Surely there should be an emphasis on quality of planning and quality of design?”
Leanne Taylor, a senior property development manager at Housing 21, said the planned facility was designed to respond to local need.
There was “unmet demand” totalling 117 apartments in the area, and the Arleston development would help meet that.
Cllr McClements added that the area has a history of drainage problems.
She said: “Now there are going to be more houses? I have real concerns about drainage, and I’m not sure what has been done to combat it.
“I ask you not to support this application as it stands. It is still not suitable.”
Justin Howell, a planning agent speaking on behalf of Countryside Properties, said Severn Trent Water had carried out “hydraulic modelling” and “have now confirmed the scheme is suitable”.
Council engineer Mark Rowley said a traffic assessment, carried out last year, found that “about 1,000” vehicles travel in either direction down Dawley Road at peak times.
The proposed development would add 68 more in the morning rush hour and 74 in the evening each weekday, he said, describing this as “nothing untoward”.
Councillor Dugmore asked: “What percentage increase is classified as having a severe impact?”
Mr Rowley said: “In the old days it was five per cent, but that measure has been scrapped.
“Now it’s all about the local context, it’s all about the ‘severity’ test.
“In this case, with these types of flows, we can’t say it’s severe.”
The eight-member committee voted 6-2 to follow planners’ recommendation and approve the application. Cllr Dugmore and Councillor Ian Fletcher voted against it.