1. The land adjoining the Primary School and Hunters Gate in Much Wenlock is proposed to be allocated for approximately 80 dwellings in Shropshire Local Plan Review. The development guidelines for the site state that the site should deliver both on and off-site attenuation infrastructure to address ‘rapid catchment’ flood risk and give consideration of the potential to deliver a roundabout access to the A458.
2. In respect of the drainage infrastructure an initial flood modelling study has been carried out by McCloys Consulting. McCloys are an industry leader in the water and environmental engineering sector. The aim of this study was to review the local flooding issue with a view of exploring what land take would be required to attenuate water entering the site from the wider catchment.
3. The summary of the study is as follows:
• During flood events significant volumes of water are shown to run across the site and down into the Hunters Gate development below. This accords with the known problems of flash flooding on Hunters Gate and the fact that the combined sewer in Barrow Street cannot cope at times of flash flooding.
• It is predicted that we would need to attenuate between 10,000m3 to 30,000m3 of flood water on site if discharging this at a controlled rate. As an attenuation pond of this size would take up so much space, this makes the development proposal in its current form completely unviable.
• The existing STW surface water drainage networks for the existing sites are at capacity even without any flood water entering them. Connecting the site to these networks in their current form would not be accepted by STW.
• To deal with the above point, a new surface water drain/culvert would be required under the Hunters Gate adopted roads and would need to discharge to The Parks. Alternatively it may be feasible to upgrade/replace the existing STW surface water sewer here. In either case a very large pipe is required, so we estimate this would cost in the region of £600k to construct.
• As a ball-park figure, we estimate the cost of constructing the culvert and attenuation features as being in the region of £1,000,000. This would need to be carried out very early on in the development prior to any house sales.
4. Our understanding is there is a willingness amongst all parties to see this scheme delivered to address the current local flood problem, however given the abnormal development costs a scheme for 80 dwelling is unviable in its current form.
5. To make the scheme viable for residential development the site capacity from need to increase from 80 to 120 dwellings. It is simply not possible to provide this number of dwelling within the current site area given a significant proportion of the land will be taken up by drainage attenuation. Accordingly, the proposal is to request an extension of the red line site area to include additional land adjacent to the site. A copy of the revised boundary and concept plan is including n the attached documents
6. At this stage a detailed housing layout hasn’t been prepared given that the exact design and siting of the drainage infrastructure is unknown at this stage. There will be a requirement for natural open space within the development and it is envisaged that the current planted boundary to the site will act as natural green corridor running through the development. The Estate are committed to delivering a high quality, beautiful development which will be in keeping with the surrounding landscape and local vernacular.
7. In addition to the above a development greater than 100 dwelling will facilitate the requirement for a new roundabout onto the A458. The roundabout will slow traffic coming into the town and by the school. The cost of a roundabout to the A458 is estimated at £600,000. The precise location of this in unknown at this stage and a supporting transport and highways assessment will be required as part of any future planning application. This will fulfil the second objective of the proposed development guidelines.
8. Finally, it is proposed that the development will deliver a good mix of housing including fulfilling the policy requirement to build 20% of the overall housing numbers as affordable dwelling. In addition, the development will deliver a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) contribution of £59.64 per square metre of build and the development overall could generate an overall CIL receipt somewhere in the region of £900,000 to spend on local projects. The Estate are not seeking to reduce either of these contributions on viability grounds.
9. To conclude the scheme is unviable in its current form. To achieve the public benefits outlined in the draft development guidelines there is a requirement to increase the overall site area and housing numbers up to 120 dwellings. Doing so would solve the longstanding surface water flooding problems in the town, provide a new roundabout and deliver a high-quality sustainable development. This is a once in a generation opportunity which will be lost if the site allocation is removed or remains as it is for 80 dwellings.
Please click on the following links to view the consultation documents: