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Seven sites for a potential new 'garden community' revealed

By Kerry Ashdown | Stafford | News | Published:

Seven potential sites for a new “garden community” of thousands of new homes in Stafford have been revealed – and locations include land near Gnosall and Hixon.

A map showing The "indicative sites" included in the Stafford Borough Council Local Plan Issues And Options Consultation document

Residents and businesses are being asked to have their say on how Stafford Borough should take shape over the next 20 years – including the future location of thousands of new homes.

An area of former MOD land near Eccleshall and Stone has previously been identified by Stafford Borough Council as a potential site for a settlement of 10,000 new homes, known as Meecebrook. Last year the Government awarded the authority £750,000 towards developing proposals for the project.

But there are other sites in the borough that could provide at least 2,000 new homes, according to a new document that has gone out to public consultation.

The Issues and Options document is part of a review of the borough’s Local Plan covering the years leading up to 2040.

The document said: “Stafford Borough is considering a variety of visionary and far-reaching proposals for the development of a new garden settlement. An early stage in this work has been the assessment of the Strategic Development Site Options for potential locations.

“This would have the potential to provide a huge economic boost to the borough including unlocking surplus brownfield land whilst creating a modern and sustainable living and working environment taking development pressure off existing settlements.

“There is an area of Ministry of Defence land in the north of the borough and other possible locations which have the potential for thousands of new homes and employment opportunities. Any proposals would also include local shops, community facilities such as schools and medical services, and potentially new transport interchanges.

“The borough council are currently exploring a number of potential locations to accommodate a new Garden Community (which also includes Major Urban Extensions) as reasonable alternatives, which have been identified by the council and have been independently assessed.”

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The other potential garden community sites, which would include employment space, are up to 3,500 homes on land north and east of Gnosall, up to 3,250 homes on land between Gnosall and Haughton, north of the A518, up to 5,250 homes near Seighford, on a “largely agricultural site with an airfield and established employment land either side of the B5405 to the west of Stafford”, up to 5,000 homes on land to the north of Redhill Business Park and to the west of the A34 near junction 14 of the M6, up to 2,750 homes on the former Second World War airfield at Hixon. Much of the site is currently unused and partly developed as an industrial park, and up to 2,000 new homes on land east of Weston – although the report said “there are a number of environmental constraints in this area”.

The report added: “The final choice of Garden Community(ies) / Major Urban Extensions will be determined by a number of factors including the level of housing requirement to be set by the New Local Plan; the spatial strategy ultimately selected; whether a combination of more than one Garden Community is selected to support the spatial strategy; (and) their deliverability including provision of new infrastructure, services and facilities.”

Councillor Frances Beatty, cabinet member for economic development and planning, said: “This is an important time for our borough, which like many districts across the UK will need to accommodate significantly more development over the next 15 years and beyond. The challenge for us all is to balance our economic growth with a good life for our communities, whilst protecting our valued environment.

“So we want your help in shaping Stafford Borough’s future so that our young people can find jobs; older people are supported as they age; tourism and new businesses grow and prosper; that the community is healthy and active; the built and natural environment are protected and that climate change is tackled.”

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Four public exhibitions will be held as part of the consultation, where council officers will be on hand to answer questions. Alongside new housing and business development sites they will be seeking views on topics such as climate change, town centres and economic prosperity.

Four sessions have been arranged, at the Jubilee Room, Eccleshall Community Centre, on February 24 between 4pm and 8pm, at Hixon Memorial Hall on February 26 from 4pm to 7pm, at Stafford Central Library on February 29 from 12pm to 4pm and on March 3 from 4pm to 8pm at Westbridge Room, Christchurch, Stone.

The consultation closes at 12pm on March 31. The Issues and Options document can be viewed atstaffordbc.gov.uk/new-local-plan- , at libraries or in the Riverside Civic Centre in Stafford.

Kerry Ashdown

By Kerry Ashdown
@KerryAshdownLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Staffordshire.

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