Legal threat over bid to build 3,000 homes.
Byline: Report by Andrew Morris Local Democracy Reporter
LEGAL action could be taken if major development plans near the M54 are given the go-ahead.
People living in Tong and surrounding areas claim they are suffering because of the expansion of the Black Country.
They claim proposed development in areas around Tong, Shifnal and Cosford has more to do with the needs of the urban West Midlands than for the more rural county of Shropshire.
Shropshire Council has not yet officially put forward plans for 3,000 homes and commercial sites at Tong.
But Councillor Ed Bird, member for Shifnal South and Cosford, said if the plans were officially adopted a legal challenge might have to be launched. He called on the authority to work with town and parish councils.
Councillor Bird said feelings are running high in the area and while he gave his backing to the plans for Cosford, which are going out for public consultation next month, he said those questioned were overwhelmingly against the M54 corridor plans.
He said: "The most notable challenge for the district has been the Shropshire Council Local Plan Review of preferred sites consultation which would see a near doubling in size of the town of Shifnal, mainly to the east, south and west of the existing boundaries.
"The town council was clear from the outset and in pre-meetings that the scale of the development was unacceptable and questioned whether land set aside for employment would ever come to fruition. I believe it is now vital planning officers give serious consideration to these responses and amend their plans accordingly.
"In addition to that Tong and Cosford were one of the 'strategic' sites earmarked for major development, with initially 10,000 new houses planned, although this has now been reduced to 3,000 plus a large employment site.
"Paul Fisher, the chairman of Tong Parish Council, has been working tirelessly to obtain more details on these proposals and the reasoning behind them. Residents have been shocked by the planned developments around their historic village affecting, as in Shifnal, large areas of greenbelt land. It should be noted, however, there are two parts to the proposal: one is to develop the existing RAF Cosford base, which I am in favour of, as it secures its future and that of the museum and training college."
Councillor Bird said much of the development is not to meet Shropshire's housing needs, but those of the Black Country. He added: "The second part of the proposal is for additional housing and employment land around Tong which I strongly oppose. The additional 3,000 houses at Tong are not part of the Shropshire Council local review document and are not required."