Councils seek approval on draft planning document to protect Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site
News jointly with our partners Telford & Wrekin Council
Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Council are set to seek approval from their respective Cabinets next week, to consult on a new draft supplementary planning document which aims to further protect and conserve the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.
The site is spread over 550 hectares, with approximately three quarters sitting within the administrative boundary of Telford & Wrekin Council, and roughly one quarter within the Shropshire Council administrative boundary.
Working in partnership, the two councils will unveil the draft Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site supplementary planning document at their respective Cabinet meetings next week. If approved, a six-week public consultation period will commence early in 2023, where the public, including residents of the Ironbridge Gorge, will be encouraged to share their views.
UNESCO awarded Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site status in 1986, in recognition of the area’s record of innovation during the Industrial Revolution.
The Ironbridge Gorge is a historically significant area and, as such, is also a conservation area and contains several scheduled ancient monuments, including the iconic Iron Bridge itself and listed buildings. It is also home to many residents and businesses and welcomes a significant number of visitors every year.
The document has been created to provide guidance and information to support the implementation of policies within the adopted and future Local Plans for both councils. The document also outlines how the site will be protected and managed, and includes preventative measures to avoid deterioration of its heritage value.
Sustainability and conservation are key features within the document, and it also seeks to support sustainable development, including improvements to the energy efficiency of buildings, whilst recognising the need for the protection of the historic character of the World Heritage Site.
Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Enforcement and Transport, said:-
“Ironbridge is an internationally-recognised area of outstanding universal value, and one of seven designated conservation areas in the borough which we are extremely proud of.
“The World Heritage status has helped the area maintain a strong visitor economy for decades and promote the wider borough as a place to visit, live, work and invest – as well as securing investment into ground stabilisation works and conservation projects in the area.
“The council, residents and businesses are custodians of the World Heritage site, and this document will ensure that the site is protected and that the history, conservation and sustainability of the area are top priorities for anyone wishing to bring forward a planning application.
“Through this guidance we want to underline the importance of Ironbridge in our borough and ensure it is protected for future generations in years to come.”
Richard Marshall, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways and regulatory services, said:-
“It is important the iconic Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site is conserved for present and future generations respectively.
Both councils have endeavoured to ensure this document details the appropriate information and guidance the site undoubtedly deserves, and provides clarity on possible future developments which will conserve and protect its historical significance.”
Approval for consultation on the document will be sought at Shropshire Council’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 14 December 2022 (10.30am start) and Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet meeting on Thursday 15 December 2022 (10am start).