Shropshire Council has appointed Gillespies to prepare Landscape and Visual sensitivity studies. These are to inform the selection of development sites as part of the evidence base for the Council’s Local Plan Review.
Shropshire, like other local authorities has to plan for new housing and employment land. The landscape and visual sensitivity study will assess how land around the 60 settlements identified in the Local Plan Review is appropriate for development. The studies will also look at any potential strategic sites that may suffer an affect by this. It will help to ensure that such development aims are at the most appropriate locations. In addition, the studies will also identify mitigation measures as necessary.
Shropshire offers a diverse range of scenery, from the large lakes and rolling pasturelands, to the hidden heritage of the Clee Hills with their stark industrial ruins. The landscape forms an integral part of the county’s economy. This is not only because of the farming industries it sustains, but also because of the residents, tourists and investors it attracts.
The importance of the County’s landscape is a clear element of the area’s special appeal. The Shropshire Hills are formally designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Future change management must occur in a way that is sympathetic to landscape character and visual amenity. It must allow the landscape to survive for future generations to enjoy. In other words, we need sustainable management of landscape change.
Joy Tetsill, senior planning officer from Shropshire Council, comments:
“We are very pleased that Gillespies are working on this important study for the Shropshire Local Plan Review. The results will form an integral part of the site selection process for housing and employment land. It will also provide a good foundation for assessing the impact of future development proposals on landscape character and visual amenity around many of Shropshire’s settlements.”
The conclusions of the Study will inform the selection of suitable sites for allocation in the Local Plan Review. It will provide a sound basis for decision making in the determination of planning applications.
Gillespies have undertaken Landscape Sensitivity Assessments across the England and Wales. These include the Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd and Snowdonia National Park Landscape Sensitivity and Capacity Study. This won a Landscape Institute Award in 2015 for best strategic planning project. Their Capacity Study of Protected Landscapes for National Grid was ‘Highly Commended’ at the 2015 LI Awards.
In a separate appointment, Gillespies is working with SP Manweb to reinforce the electricity distribution system in North Shropshire. This will ensure that future demands for electricity are met.