Villagers protest against the Boningale Homes plan

Albrighton residents opposed to the green belt land grab are being urged to come out in force at a Public Meeting set to be held by Mark Pritchard MP.

The event, which will take place on May 16th at 7.30pm at the Red House, will provide crucial updates on the campaign to protect 56 hectares of beautiful countryside in the village from proposals to build 800 homes by Boningale Homes.

The Wrekin MP has already thrown his backing behind the Albrighton Village Action Group’s efforts to mobilise local support, providing a TV interview against the development and holding regular communication with AVAG.

He is now keen to pull concerned residents together to provide an update on the development, an insight into what Cabinet Approval of the Local Plan Additional Material means and to discuss the next steps people can take, including how best to respond to public consultation.

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There will also be two representatives from Boningale Homes attending, who will take part in a Q&A session.

“We are delighted that Mark Pritchard has backed our call for a public meeting and this will provide an ideal opportunity to update everyone on the massive progress we have made as a group and, importantly, how individuals can get involved as we continue to fight this unnecessary green belt grab by Boningale Homes,” commented Claire Lakin, Spokesperson for Albrighton Village Action Group.

“The public feeling against this development is overwhelmingly opposed and this is reflected in the fact we have over 3000 signatures on a petition and the mass protest we held outside the last consultation, with nearly 150 people turning up in torrential rain to have their say.”

She went on to add: “This is just the start though, especially if we are going to protect our stunning landscapes and countryside against opportunist developers looking to maximise profitability at the expense of what makes our village so special.”

Albrighton Village Action Group, which is made up of volunteers from the local community, is against overdevelopment outside the agreed Local Plan.

The Boningale Homes proposals involve the removal of an enormous area of productive farmland, mature trees and hedgerows, with extremely negative implications for roads, railways, health services, traffic levels and pedestrian safety.

Since its launch nine weeks ago, AVAG has successfully secured support from Mark Pritchard MP and Shropshire Councillor Nigel Lumby and galvanised local people through its petition, peaceful protests, and the distribution of more than 5000 leaflets and 50 placards located strategically around the village.

The group has also engaged with other local action groups and societies, fundraised £2000 towards supporting the campaign, secured significant local/national media coverage and registered a question in support of the Local Plan at the recent Shropshire Council Cabinet Meeting.

Claire went on to add: “We’ve said from the very start that we’re not against development on sites that have already been agreed and that is why we welcome a new proposal by Wain Estates to build homes on an allocated location. This scheme, alongside over 400 homes already being built, shows Albrighton is doing its bit in providing more housing in the region – a point that was echoed with Cabinet Approval of the Local Plan.

“What Boningale Homes is proposing is building on green belt that has not been put aside for development and threatens our status as a village, destroying 56 hectares of countryside in the process.

“Their argument that we need to take overspill from the Black Country simply doesn’t stack up and this has been reinforced recently by Shropshire Council in their Local Plan Additional Material.

“There are lots of brownfield sites that can be remediated first – the only thing stopping developers is that they can’t make as much money doing it that way.”

Mark Pritchard MP concluded: “The scale and siting of this proposed development is completely inappropriate. Albrighton’s green belt is precious, it must be protected, and I will fight these developer-led proposals all the way. They are not in the Shropshire Local Plan and should be refused should an application be submitted.”

The Red House in Albrighton has a maximum capacity of 200 people and people will be admitted on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

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