An indicative artists impression showing a large brick mill and surrounding historic buildings, landscaping and housing.
An indicative drawing used to accompany the December 2020 outline planning consent application of what future housing might look like at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings © Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Wider Site Plans at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

9 April 2021

Outline planning consent permitting housing on the undeveloped brownfield land surrounding Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings, including the Apprentice House, was renewed in April 2021.

The renewed outline planning consent intends to provide a baseline for the site’s capacity. It shows only what a development could or might look like in future, and will also inform a detailed set of proposals once a development partner is in place.

We know that there is lots of public interest in this element of the plans for the Flaxmill Maltings regeneration project, so we have provided answers to the most frequently asked questions below:

An indicative drawing used to accompany the December 2020 outline planning consent application of what future housing might look like at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings © Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

#FAQFrequently asked questions

1. Who owns Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings and the surrounding brownfield land?

Historic England owns the freehold for Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings and the undeveloped brownfield land surrounding these eight historic listed buildings.

2. Who is the developer for the housing?

There is currently no housing development partner in place and we are not yet actively seeking one.

3. What was the new housing planning consent application for?

In 2011 Outline Planning and Listed Building Consent for the whole of the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings site, including the historic buildings, was granted.

Outline planning consent seeks to establish whether the scale and nature of a proposed development would be acceptable to the local planning authority, before a fully detailed proposal is put forward.

Outline planning consent for housing on the undeveloped brownfield areas of the site to the north and east of the Main Mill, including the Apprentice House, was renewed in April 2021.

This renewed consent is intended to provide a baseline for the site’s capacity, showing only what it could or might look like in future, and informing a detailed set of proposals once a development partner is in place.

As per the 2011 outline planning consent, the renewed submission was for 120 residential units in total. The actual number of units will be considered by the Local Authority, along with the layout, scale and appearance of the buildings and the landscaping, through a more detailed planning process, which will follow once we have a developer in place.

There is also allowance for a small amount of commercial space. This includes 1 and 15 Haughmond Square. Both are now in use as take-away food premises with residential accommodation above, and are in private ownership. It is aspired that these remain in commercial use, with commercial space at ground floor and living accommodation above.

The reference number for the planning application is: 20/05065/OUT. For full details please visit Shropshire Council’s website to view the planning application.

As the renewal submission was so similar to the original 2011 consent application, Shropshire Council was able to make a decision on the renewed consent application without it needing planning committee review.

For the Main Mill and Kiln which are currently being restored, detailed planning and listed building consent were obtained in November 2016 for the repair and re-use of these historic buildings as workspace, a visitor experience and café, with work on this part of the site now nearing completion.

4. Why build houses around Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings?

Derelict for many years, Historic England is now working with partners to save and restore this remarkable piece of Shrewsbury’s history, and make it a place that everyone can be proud to live, work, visit and play in.

It has always been the plan to regenerate the brownfield land around the historic buildings and make the most of the historic frontage of the Main Mill which sits alongside the line of the former Shrewsbury and Newport canal.

The 20th century industrial and commercial units that sprang up on the front of the site replaced the historic workers’ housing that occupied the Flaxmill Maltings site on the land between the former canal and Spring Gardens, so we are putting this land back to its former use.

The outline planning consent proposes that housing is built in alignment to the tow path, to reinstate housing where it always was historically and reinforce the canal as the site’s principal landscape space. The renewed plan places houses back from the main road whilst retaining the visibility of the skyline and upper floors of the Main Mill as viewed from Spring Gardens.

The magnificent views from Marshalls Court and St Michaels Street junction and along Spring Gardens will be retained.

Outline consent shows only what future housing could or might look like, actual housing designs will follow when a developer is in place.

5. Is this a good use of the land? Are more houses needed in this area?

Our key partner, Shropshire Council, has been following Government policy and guidelines in setting its ambitions for new housing in the county. This prioritises existing urban areas especially brownfield sites. The aim is to satisfy current and future housing needs, including key workers, while stimulating regeneration and sustainable economic growth. Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings is well placed to contribute to those aims while giving a boost to community wide regeneration as identified in the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan.

6. Won’t more houses lead to further congestion on local roads?

A carefully prepared Design and Access statement will be a prerequisite for any future detailed planning application. This will include a rigorous travel plan encompassing the whole site and emphasising means of facilitating Active Travel. The site is very well served by public transport and Shropshire Council is putting in place changes to its Park and Ride with a stop at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings providing access to and from town and a variety of other key destinations.

7. Where will the money received from the sale of the land to a developer go?

The new build element is an intrinsic part of the delivery of regeneration of the site as a whole, and any profits arising from the sale of the land to a developer will be ring fenced and re-invested by Historic England in the repair and rescue of the remaining historic buildings at risk at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings.

8. When are the houses going to be built?

A date will not be known until a development partner is in place.

The developer will then need to apply for full planning consent, with detailed designs and plans. These will be submitted in line with guidelines imposed by Historic England on transfer of the land. This will be subject to an extensive consultation process.

9. What will the houses look like?

It is only when a development partner is in place that actual drawings will exist. The developer would produce a detailed set of designs and plans.

The illustrations shown in the 2020 Design and Access Statement are indicative rather than actual.

10. How will you make sure the design is sympathetic to the historic site and the Main Mill?

Historic England will only sell the land to a developer that supports the vision for Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings.

11. What type of housing will be built?

The exact type of housing will not be known until a development partner is in place and this developer will need to take into account relevant local plans and guidelines when designing the scheme.

Historic England will be looking to appoint a developer with high standards in relation to their approach to well-designed, sustainable and environmentally friendly housing, which is compatible with the international importance of the overall site.

We will be seeking a development partner committed to achieving significant carbon embodied energy reduction (65%) which means that energy used to make the buildings is minimised and that where possible building materials are recycled.

We will also be looking for a partner who will use low carbon heating systems and incorporate renewable energy on-site.

12. Will affordable housing be included in the consent application?

The exact type of housing will not be known until a development partner is in place.

Although the illustrative scheme shows a mix of conventionally occupied houses and apartments, it is considered that other housing types such as sheltered housing, retirement homes, student residences, co-housing and other typologies would also be suitable, as part of a development consistent with the scale and amount illustrated in the renewal of the 2020 Outline Planning Consent.

13. Are you building houses over the line of the former Shrewsbury and Newport Canal?

No. The line of the old Shrewsbury and Newport Canal and towpath – a strip of land approximately 10 metres wide and around 220 metres long – will be preserved and become an open landscaped corridor through the site. The work on restoring the line of the canal and the landscape is already consented, and works are underway, with completion due by 2022.

As part of the current Main Mill and Kiln restoration there will be a pedestrian and cycle route installed along the line of the former tow path and a green corridor over the footprint of the canal that runs in front of these two buildings.

14. Are you reinstating the canal?

Historic England appreciates that there is local support for reinstating the line of the former canal, which once ran through the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings site. The decision to build the 1797 flax mill at this specific location in Shrewsbury was made in large part because of the canal’s proximity and it was a crucial part of the wider site.

Preserving the remaining line of the former canal has always been a priority for us in regenerating the site.

In our plans, we are ensuring that the former canal and towpath – a strip of land approximately 10 metres wide and around 220 metres long – is marked and celebrated and have invested over £250,000 to restore its line, including removing buildings, concrete and contaminated waste. Until the canal can be fully restored, it will be transformed into an area of green landscaping with a pedestrian and cycle route, giving local people the opportunity to access and enjoy it. Together our current and future works will safeguard the canal line’s future, enabling it to one day be fully reinstated more easily and inexpensively.

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