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Town Councillors Support Flaxmill Development

Shrewsbury Town Councillors have supported an application for the development of the town’s historic Flaxmill, whilst also calling on planning chiefs to give further consideration to the impact of the scheme on nearby residents.

At a meeting of Full Council on Monday, members considered proposals to redevelop the historic site to create office space, a café, car parking and an interactive visitors’ space.

Councillors heard representations from Tim Johnston, Project Director for Historic England, and local residents were also given an opportunity to air their views.

Members were generally supportive of the development, however, councillors also felt there were implications to nearby residents that should be taken into consideration.

An official response to the Planning Authority says: 

“Shrewsbury Town Council is highly supportive of the development of the Flaxmill and associated buildings to create a mixed-use facility which will provide modern employment space as well as an important visitor space that will aid the promotion and enhancement of the Flaxmill’s reputation and national/international standing.

However, in supporting this application there are implications to the local residential amenity of the area we feel must be addressed to ensure that this development sits in harmony with its surroundings.

Members feel that the transport plan needs greater consideration to the impact on the local residents, particularly those of Marshalls Court.”

The response then continues to outline mitigation measures the Town Council would like to see implemented in response to residents’ concerns. These include; 

(i)    Enhancements to the junction onto St Michaels Street to allow for better traffic management accessing and egressing the development site;
(ii)    The use of traffic Regulation Orders and/or Residential Parking along Marshalls Court to restrict opportunist parking off site;
(iii)    Changing the vehicular access into the car park to from the end of Marshalls Court to its existing access.  In so moving the road layout greater provision could be made to creating landscaping that would attenuate any surface water run-off from the carpark;
(iv)    Losing a row of car parking places to the rear of Marshalls Court to enable bunding and landscaping;
(v)    Ensuring all lights are positioned to downlight the carpark and do not pollute the area unnecessarily with light;
(vi)    Use of CCTV (with possible hook-up to the town centre CCTV system) within the car park;
(vii)    There be minimum height restriction barriers to restrict vehicular traffic height;
(viii)    Conditions on the operating hours of the site

Members also asked that, in view of the strategic importance of this development and the sensitivity of the site locally, this application be considered by Shropshire Council’s Central Planning Committee.

Councillor Alan Townsend, Chairman of the Planning Committee said: “The primary role of the Town Council’s Planning Committee is to be an advocate for the local residents, looking at how new developments will bed in with what is there currently and, in the case of the Flaxmill, whilst we wholeheartedly welcome such a positive development and its impact to the town, we have to be mindful of the fact that the very local residents’ concerns need to be addressed.”

Councillor Andrew Bannerman, ward member for the residential area most likely to be affected by the scheme added: “Whilst the Flaxmill isn’t in my ward, the residents who are likely to be affected are and I have taken the time to meet them to learn for myself their issues and concerns. I hope the Town Council’s comments to the Planning Authority will encourage Historic England to make adaptations to their scheme so that it can proceed with everyone’s support.”