Case Study: New food store, Shropshire Council

Background

SP Broadway was instructed to assist with the final stage of consultation on a proposal to build a new supermarket and petrol station on the edge of the town of Ludlow, Shropshire.

Challenge

Though the planning application was recommended for approval by Shropshire Council officers, the proposal was very controversial locally, opposed by the town council and Chamber of Commerce for its perceived impact on trade in Ludlow town centre and its impact on traffic.

Solution

  • Having been informed by the client that the head of the local community centre had been supportive of the proposals at a public exhibition two years previously, we established her identity and telephoned her to understand her views further. The call established that she remained supportive of the supermarket but she had not submitted her views to the council. At our urging she duly wrote a letter expressing her support for the application and submitted it to the council.
  • We drafted and sent a briefing letter to all Planning Committee members, stressing how the proposal would create jobs and consumer choice for Ludlow residents, boost the town’s economy by helping to claw-back trade from other towns in the region, and increase business rate revenue for the council.
  • At a meeting in October 2016 the Planning Committee deferred the application, with a view to refusing.
  • Following the deferral we created a petition in favour of the proposal, and placed it in the community centre where we knew we had support.
  • We drafted and sent a further briefing letter to Planning Committee Members before the second Committee date in March 2017, highlighting the changes made to the scheme reflecting comments members made at the earlier Committee, and reminding members about the economic benefits and limited impact on the town centre. We also highlighted the petition in support, and how the majority of residents’ expressing a view during the Council’s own consultation supported the revised proposals.

Result

In February 2017 the Planning Committee voted by 5 votes to 4 to approve the revised application.

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