Shropshire Council

Much Wenlock and surrounding area

Place plans were developed to include a main centre (often a market town) and its surrounding smaller towns, villages, and rural hinterland. These areas are recognised in the Local Plan as functioning geographical areas, with strong linkages to and from the main town and the wider area.

The Much Wenlock and Surrounding Area Place Plan covers the area identified within the red outline on the map image on this page. It summarises and prioritises the local infrastructure needs which are required to support the sustainable development of the area, and identifies the wider investment needs to assist delivery of the community’s vision and aspirations.

Data and information review

The infrastructure project list is based on information submitted to us by town and parish councils in each place plan area. This information is then tested against data held by us, and further informed by consultation with a range of infrastructure providers. 

By gathering this information, we've been able to understand more clearly the needs of each place plan area and use this information to make some difficult decisions about prioritisation of projects. 

Key infrastructure issues

A review of information for this area has shown that key infrastructure issues are:

  • There is scope for transformational development through the redevelopment of the Ironbridge Power Station site. This is a 350-acre brownfield site with potential to deliver up to 1,000 dwellings and 20ha of employment land. This is the largest single redevelopment site in the whole of Shropshire, and it will require significant enabling infrastructure. Demolition of existing infrastructure and site mitigation is expected to be carried out from 2019 to 2020. 
  • Environmental technology is a key sector for the Shropshire economy, and the existing high voltage grid connection at the Ironbridge site has potential for users with significant energy requirements.  
  • There are known sewerage network capacity issues and known flooding problems in the area. Hydraulic modelling of the wastewater network is required to assess whether there is capacity within the network to meet development needs – however, there is also a chance that, even without any further growth in this location, additional capacity may be required. 
  • Much Wenlock is within easy driving distance of Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, Ludlow, and Telford, making it attractive to commuters. The town is subject to inward development pressure and to avoid becoming a commuter-focused settlement, the priority is for local employment opportunities, balanced with housing and infrastructure, to meet local needs.  
  • Affordable housing provision in particular will be an ongoing issue. 

Projects

Several projects have been identified and prioritised for the area. You can find the details for each project in the Much Wenlock Place Plan which is attached to this page to view or download. 

This area in the countywide plan

Core Strategy

The Core Strategy recognises the role of Shropshire’s market towns and key centres through Policy CS3. This policy outlines how all of our towns have distinctive identities, which new development is expected to reinforce, by respecting each town’s distinctive character, and by being sensitive to its landscape setting, historic features, and the towns’ functions. You can read more from Policy CS3 on our planning policy pages.

For Much Wenlock, Policy CS3 recognises that: 

  • Much Wenlock will have limited development that reflects its important service and employment centre role whilst retaining its historic character. 
  • It is an historic market town lying in a narrow valley close to Wenlock Edge and is known for being the birth place of the Modern Olympic Games. 
  • The town is subject to inward development pressure and to avoid becoming a commuting settlement, the priority is for local employment opportunities balanced with housing and infrastructure to meet local needs. 
  • Additional hydraulic capacity will be required at the Much Wenlock Wastewater Treatment Works during the plan period and a new discharge consent will also be required in order to ensure there is no deterioration of water quality under the Water Framework Directive, as outlined in the LDF Implementation Plan. 
  • Much Wenlock is also susceptible to flooding, particularly from surface water, with runoff from the surrounding area and an inadequate drainage system that cannot cope with the volume of water being a particular issue, which causes disruption to parts of the town during periods of heavy rainfall. 

SAMDev policies

The SAMDev Plan also provides brief settlement policies for each place plan area. You can read more from the SAMDev Plan on our planning policy web pages. 

The policies for Much Wenlock, and then for the wider area, are as follows: 

  • Much Wenlock has a Neighbourhood Plan which sets out the development strategy for the town during the Plan period. Proposals for new development in the Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan area should refer to this Neighbourhood Plan. 
  • Development should be phased appropriately to take account of critical infrastructure delivery and seek to positively contribute towards local infrastructure improvements, including the provision of community benefits. 
  • Windfall opportunities to develop around 1 hectare of suitable small-scale employment uses within Much Wenlock and appropriate rural locations, including Community Hubs and Community Clusters, will be permitted. 
  • Opportunities for the regeneration of existing employment sites in this wider area will also be encouraged, where appropriate. 

Local Plan Review

We started reviewing our Local Plan in 2017 and recently consulted on the preferred sites which are needed to meet the county’s development needs during the period to 2036. The new Plan is unlikely to be adopted before 2021.

The review will ensure that the Local Plan continues to be the primary consideration for decisions about development in Shropshire by maintaining robust and defensible policies that conform with national policy and address the changing circumstances within the County and beyond. 

More about Much Wenlock

Much Wenlock is a small medieval market town, located in the east of the county mid-point between Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth. Much Wenlock sits alongside Wenlock Edge, a narrow limestone escarpment that runs for 15 miles from Craven Arms to Ironbridge via Much Wenlock. 

Much Wenlock developed around an abbey, founded around 685.  This remained until the invasion of Danish Vikings in circa 874.  In the 11th Century a religious house was built on the same site.  This was subsequently replaced by a monastery following the Norman Conquest.  The town and monastery prospered until the dissolution of monasteries in 1539 and the ruins of the site can still be seen today.  

There are also the preserved remains of a Cistercian abbey built in 1135, which lies on the south bank of the River Severn in Buildwas and includes a 12th Century church. 

In 1850 the local surgeon William Penny Brookes was credited with introducing physical education into British Schools, inspiring the modern Olympic Games.  The mascot for the 2012 London Olympic Games was named Wenlock in honour of the town’s connection to the games. 

Today the town retains a number of black and white timber framed buildings with the Guildhall being noted as a fine half-timbered Tudor building. The Guildhall sits in the centre of the town and houses the courtroom and council chamber. 

Much Wenlock ward is predominantly rural in nature, sparsely populated and contains a mixture of housing in terms of age and type, alongside a range of shops and other amenities.  The A458 is the key transport route to Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury.

List of Parishes and Local Elected Members  

This Place Plan covers the following Town and Parish Councils: 

  • Buildwas Parish Council 
  • Church Preen, Hughley, and Kenley Parish Council 
  • Cressage, Harley, and Sheinton Parish Council 
  • Easthope Shipton and Stanton Long Council  
  • Much Wenlock Town 

The following Elected Members of Shropshire Council represent constituencies within this Place Plan area: 

  • Councillor David Turner (Much Wenlock Ward) 
  • Councillor Clare Wild (Severn Valley Ward) 

You can view each councillor's profile on the 'Your Councillor' section of our Committee Services web pages.

Other local plans

When developing the Place Plans for an area, Shropshire Council also looks at any other local plans and strategies that focus on infrastructure needs within this particular area. 

For Much Wenlock and the surrounding area, the relevant plans include: 

Community led or parish plans

Neighbourhood Plan / Plan 'Light'

On 17th July 2014 Shropshire Council adopted the Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan 2014 under Section 28A(4) of the  Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.  The plan has now been adopted by Shropshire Council and forms part pf the development plan for Much Wenlock.   

The Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan now forms part of the Development Plan for Shropshire.