Vision and Objectives
The Shifnal Neighbourhood Plan sets out the community’s overall vision for the area.
The Vision and Objectives listed below are those that have been developed through the various stages of the consultation process. This started with the Residents questionnaire issued in November 2014 and the first stage ended with the Consultation Event / Exhibition in June 2015.They were then further refined following the Pre-Submission Consultation stage which ran from September 28th until November 8th 2015.
VISION AND OBJECTIVES
Challenges for Shifnal
The Neighbourhood Plan seeks to address, as far as is possible, the challenges that face the community of Shifnal parish. In summary these challenges are:
- To ensure that the infrastructure of Shifnal town is improved and expanded so that it can support the significant growth in population through already-permitted residential developments. In particular this relates to the need for expanded healthcare, education and leisure facilities and highways provision.
- Ensuring that the community continues to have good access to the surrounding countryside, particularly given the expansion of housing on the edges of Shifnal town.
- The growing volume of traffic in the town centre, with narrow streets of an old market town and a lack of options for providing expanded parking.
- The need to protect recreational areas and green spaces of value to the community in order that Shifnal does not become too urbanised.
- To bring the vacant and derelict sites and buildings within the town back into positive use, so helping to retain the historic core of the town.
- To protect existing employment opportunities so that Shifnal does not become solely a commuter town.
- For Shifnal town centre to continue to be a focal point for the community and a high quality destination for shopping, leisure and tourism, with movement possible by a range of modes, not just the car.
Vision for Shifnal
In consultation with the community, the established vision for Shifnal is as follows:
‘In 2026, Shifnal is still a pleasant place to live. It has grown considerably in size, but good planning which has taken account of the concerns and policies included in the Neighbourhood Plan has meant that its long-established character as a bustling town with an attractive built environment, a distinctive town centre with a range of independent shops and good community facilities has not changed. It has enhanced its role and sustainability as one of Shropshire’s historic small market towns.
Shifnal has successfully addressed its two key issues. First, a new medical centre with the latest facilities meets the health needs of residents including newcomers to the town and has reduced the need to travel to local hospitals.
Secondly, there have been great improvements in traffic management and pedestrian safety. The improvements to bus service infrastructure and the development of walkways and cycle paths into and around the town centre have encouraged people to leave their cars at home. This has reduced congestion and the pressure on the town’s car parks, and so has improved the town centre as a place to stop and walk around, and its shops and businesses are thriving in both daytime and evening. This has led to increasing job opportunities for local people.
The protection of the character of the town centre, including the actions taken with regard to former derelict and empty shops and buildings, has led to an increase in the number of visitors and tourists coming to the town. Shifnal has become a destination, where people come to walk or cycle in the surrounding attractive countryside and then return to enjoy a drink or meal in the town.
Better leisure facilities have been developed, and those green spaces listed in the Neighbourhood Plan because of their recreational and informal leisure value have been retained and improved to meet the needs of all sections of the population, and new green spaces including a Town Park have been provided as part of recent housing developments. Community effort backed by public and private funding has led to the Wesley Brook becoming an attractive feature. The greenbelt and the agricultural land around the town have not been built upon.
Some small-scale housing development has taken place on infill sites, but in accordance with the policies in the Plan it has matched the size, scale and character of the existing built environment and has met local housing needs. This has meant that neither younger nor older people need now to move away to find affordable or suitable housing. New car home provision has been made to provide for those in need of dedicated care.
There has been an increase in local employment opportunities due to the implementation of the policies in the Neighbourhood Plan, thereby reducing the need to travel out of the town to work.
A strong community spirit continues to exist and new residents have successfully integrated into the town, and this has given everyone the opportunity to participate in and live a healthy, safe and satisfying life.’
Neighbourhood Plan Objectives
The objectives of the Neighbourhood Plan as identified through engagement with the community are as follows:
Green Belt and the Shifnal Settlement Boundary
- The existing Green Belt around the town should be retained
- Development should be focused within the settlement boundary of the town
- The design of any new housing in Shifnal should be in keeping with and improve upon good design in the town, provide varied and interesting frontages and incorporate design features found in the vicinity of the site
- New housing should meet the needs of Shifnal, particularly in respect of providing more smaller dwellings for first-time buyers and older people
- Encourage the provision of additional care home places to meet the needs of older people
Transport and Movement
- The road network should be improved to accommodate the extra local traffic generated by the new housing developments as well as through traffic
- Adequate public car parking should be provided in the town centre
- Encourage and support the provision of and improvements to pedestrian and cycle routes into and around the town to create a more sustainable and safer environment, reduce reliance on the car and offer healthier life style options
- Improve the provision of bus and rail services and infrastructure in order to increase public transport movements
Character and Conservation
- Any new development should not adversely affect the market town character of Shifnal
- Encourage and support re-use or redevelopment of derelict, unused and vacant sites and buildings to protect and enhance the character of the town
Health and Leisure
- A new health centre should be provided to meet the health needs of existing residents and the new households coming to live in the town
- Better opportunities for leisure should be provided for everyone in the community
- Existing parks, play areas, playing fields and open spaces should be retained and additional open space areas provided
- Any new development should seek to reduce flood risk and not adversely affect drainage and flooding in the town
Town Centre and Economy
- Existing employment land should be retained and new employment opportunities encouraged within the town
- Provide for and enhance existing facilities and support initiatives to attract visitors and tourists to the town
- Rural farming activities should be protected and encouraged