(Albrighton, Boningale, Donington-with-Boscobel & Tong)


Thanks to all who came to our Public Meeting and AGM on the evening of 9th October. More than 200 people came and all the chairs in the Red House were used including those from the small room and even those from upstairs! Many people had to stand at the back and down the side of the hall and even in the lobby!
The AGM business included the Chairman’s Report describing our activities during the last year with some successes but we also had several work-in-progress items. John Bulmer presented the Cup for Overall Winner of the Front Garden and Flower Competition to Lesley Warren and Certificates to Runner Up Mr D Hall, Valery Jones (Best Window Box) and Jeanne Fellows (Best Hanging Basket/Container).
The Treasurer’s Report showed that our accounts were satisfactory and we recorded our thanks to our retiring auditor Gerard Paris who has audited us since we were established in 2009 and we welcomed our new auditor Tom Maguire. Mike Pitchford showed that we had about 200 members. The chairmanship of the meeting was then handed over to Cllr Malcolm Pate who announced that the Officers elected to the new committee were Chairman - Peter Woodman, Secretary – Rod Smith and Treasurer – Mike Pitchford. Five members of committee were elected for the six available places - Bob Hickson, Peter Illes, Ron Kidson, Gaynor Richards and Phyl Woodman.
Chairmanship of the meeting was then handed back to Peter Woodman who introduced Alison Taylor (Platform Ale House) who described the setting up of the new Friends of Albrighton Station under the auspices of the national Adopt-a-Station Scheme administered by outgoing London Midland and the new franchisee West Midland Trains.
Then we heard David Thompson of Boningale Homes describe progress on his Development East of Shaw Lane which now occupied only the south part of the whole land from Kingswood Rd to the Rail Station. The vehicle access was from Kingswood Road and all foul and surface water drained southwards towards Kingswood Rd. Peter Illes reminded everyone that the County SAMDev Plan clearly stated that this land was to have additional parking in the vicinity of the Rail Station and open spaces for leisure facilities. It was pointed out that while Boningale’s overall Master Plan did indeed include additional parking at the north corner, near the Station, and open spaces he had not been able to conclude an agreement with National Grid which owned that northern part so that Boningale’s current southern sites do not have these features. Thus people had accepted the Boningale stage by stage planning proposals on the basis that there would be additional parking in the vicinity of the Rail Station and open spaces for leisure facilities - these are now no longer within Boningale’s reduced size scheme.
Clive Jessup then presented the proposals for his Development at the northern part of the land ie that which Mr Jessup had purchased from National Grid and on which Boningale had proposed the additional parking in the vicinity of the Rail Station and open spaces. He proposed that vehicle access be down a widened school drive to/from Shaw Lane and that foul and surface water be piped below the school drive and fed into the combined sewer in Shaw Lane and onwards into Station Rd and then the High St where previous flooding had occurred. There were a lot of questions and concerns about the Jessup proposal. Geoff Catling who had a background in traffic planning issues started by questioning the suitability of the traffic surveys which Jessup’s consultants had made which concluded that the additional traffic using the school drive and Shaw Lane would not be a problem. He and several others stressed their own experience with the current situation which is unacceptable due to heavy traffic and congestion caused by vehicles bringing children to/from school and causing safety concerns especially for the children and elderly people going to the Medical Practice. All this is on a Shaw Lane which has many parked cars of station users, and with the new franchisee, West Midland Trains, about to greatly increase the number of trains per day and improve the service the number of cars parked in Shaw Lane and vicinity are likely to be even more. With the additional traffic from the Development it would make the situation even worse and safety would be further compromised.
It was said by Jessup’s partner, Wrekin Housing Trust, that the 74 Extra Care apartments and the 6 bungalows would be for local Albrighton people to move into thus freeing up their perhaps larger houses and that this would be done in conjunction with Shropshire Council. In response to a question by Dr Matthew Perry they said that the mechanism for giving local people priority was to allow 6 to 8 weeks for locals to take up the offer and thereafter people from outside could move there. The audience laughed at this suggestion which was felt not to be a practical advantage for locals and not exactly providing a priority to Albrightonians. Dr Matthew Bird said the surgery had experience of looking after similar extra care people and was concerned that with so many such people that they would place an unbearable burden on the Medical Practice which may not cope.
Ron Kidson, an ex Severn Trent senior officer, had doubts about the Report on Drainage as the Consultants who prepared it thought that the nearest sewerage works was at Pattingham and of course it is in Albrighton. Similarly they thought the river Worfe was a few hundred metres from the site whereas it is 2 miles away. The report dealt with the drainage on the Development itself but did not review the effects of putting all the foul and surface water into the existing old pipes in Shaw Lane. Mr Jessup said that once the water got into the Shaw Lane pipe any problem was then Severn Trent’s responsibility. Worryingly Severn Trent has approved the Jessup proposals.
Many other speakers reiterated the various concerns outlined above and also felt that Jessup proposed far too many dwellings and amounted to an over-development of the “Jessup area” of land.
Some speakers noted that the total number of dwellings of the combined Jessup and Boningale Proposals were far in excess of the total laid down in the County SAMDev Plan and as such the Proposal was therefore an over development of the land. This also results in the loss of the amenities in SAMDev requirements which states “Development proposals should help provide.additional parking in the vicinity of the Station. As part of the development, land will be provided on or adjacent the site for open space and leisure facilities including a children’s play area, adult football pitch, youth shelter, multi-use games area and leisure centre/sports hall with good pedestrian connections to the village”. It would thus be expected that the Jessup proposals would be refused by the Planners.
Shropshire Cllr Malcolm Pate said that, just today, Shropshire Council Highways has recommended refusal of the Jessup Application as they don’t want the main access to be via Shaw Lane and that there needs to be road connectivity between the Jessup and Boningale proposals. Mr Jessup said that he would move his proposed road so that it would connect to Boningale’s proposed road. When asked what he would do if the planners refused his Application he said that he will appeal.
Some people noted that while many negative complaints have been made a practical next step may be for the community to engage with the Developers, the SC Planners and Severn Trent to see how the three main issues can be addressed – a) Car park for Station,      b) Drainage not to go into the Shaw Lane pipes c) Vehicle Access not to/from Shaw Lane but to be through the Boningale Homes site and then into Kingswood Rd. and d) have fewer dwellings in the Jessup proposal to avoid Over Developing the land. The Society feels that there is a need for the Society, and indeed the two Parish Councils, to be proactive in order to address residents’ concerns.
Mr Jessup wrote to the Society the day after the meetings saying “My team and I have a greater understanding of some of the issues the village has. We will review our proposals in light of comments made”. That is a positive statement so let’s see what is proposed next.
The last topic was the Shropshire Council Proposal to charge 30p per hour for the Crown Car Park. Cllr Malcolm Pate is strongly against the proposal and reported that his discussions at Shire Hall indicated that it was unlikely the proposal would be carried out and that Marston’s brewery was against it (Crown Car Park – owned by Marstons but leased by Shropshire Council (SC)). SC’s Questionnaire on their Proposal was in 4 volumes and many pages in each volume and not at all friendly and most people have been put off filling it in thus possibly leaving SC to think that their proposal was acceptable. The Civic Society prepared a one sheet version Response to the Questionnaire’s Crown proposal which was offered to all attendees and if they were against then they were asked to complete the simple Response Form and send it to the Freepost address. After the meeting we were asked by many people to make this Form available more widely and copies have now been taken by the Traders’ Association and are in many shops and also in the Crown Pub. Deadline for the Response was 17th October which will be after this edition of the magazine is published – let’s hope our action has had a good effect!


For more information please see   www     or contact:
Peter Woodman – Chairman (T: 372225) 31/32 High St  or Rod Smith - Secretary (T: 372765)