Press Release 10.07.2018

Gillespies appointed to undertake a Landscape and Visual Sensitivity Study for Shropshire

Shropshire Council has appointed Landscape Planners Gillespies to prepare Landscape and Visual sensitivity studies 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 as appropriate for development as well as any potential strategic sites would be affected by this. It will help to ensure that such development is directed to the most appropriate locations and identify mitigation measures as necessary.

Shropshire offers a diverse range of scenery, from the large lakes and rolling pasturelands around Ellesmere in the north, to the hidden heritage of the Clee Hills with their stark industrial ruins in the south. The landscape forms an integral part of the county’s economy, 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 recognised as being part of the area’s special appeal, with the Shropshire Hills formally designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Future change needs to be managed in a way that is sympathetic to landscape character and visual amenity, allowing it to be maintained for future generations to enjoy. In other words, we need sustainable management of landscape change. The conclusions of the Study will inform the selection of suitable sites for allocation in the Local Plan Review and provide a sound basis for decision making in the determination of planning applications.

Gillespies have undertaken Landscape Sensitivity Assessments across the England and Wales, including the Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd and Snowdonia National Park Landscape Sensitivity and Capacity Study which was recognised with a Landscape Institute Award in 2015 for best strategic planning project and a Capacity Study of Protected Landscapes for National Grid which was was Highly Commended at the 2015 Landscape Institute Awards.

In a separate appointment, Gillespies is working with SP Manweb to reinforce the electricity distribution system in North Shropshire to ensure that future demands for electricity can be met.

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 and provide a good foundation for assessing the impact of future development proposals on landscape character and visual amenity around many of Shropshire’s settlements.’