A chance to shape the future of Bishop’s Castle will be at stake when a referendum is held on plans for the town’s development this year.

Residents will get to decide on the adoption of a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) which will dictate how new developments in Bishop’s Castle are brought forward, with polls set to open in May.

Introduced in 2011, NDPs allow communities to adopt a planning approach for their local area, including decisions such as where houses are built and whether they meet local need.

The plan sets out a series of policies designed to support a vision for the town stretching out to 2038, where it says public services will be protected – and young people’s local housing needs will be met in the area.

It outlines that the town centre will be a “people friendly place for small businesses and tourist activities to thrive”, and where the town’s notorious parking issues will have been resolved.


The policies set out specifically how new developments within the Bishop’s Castle Conservation Area must complement the local character of the town’s historic buildings, by including features such as local materials and decorative facias, which are further clarified by a set of supporting design principles.

“Whilst it is desirable for new development to reflect the local character, it is also important that new development is not overly uniform,” it says.

“Bishop’s Castle is characterised by variety of height, materials, form and set-back, and this should be reflected in new development, particularly major development. Generic design will not be appropriate.”

Any major developments would also be required to show how they would reduce traffic related impacts in the conservation area, while developments which include public art works will also be looked upon favourably, where they do not cause harm to the conservation area.

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If adopted, the Bishop’s Castle NPD will carry equal weight to the local plan in planning decisions.

“It’s a great day for Bishop’s Castle if they can get the referendum through. It’s a lovely little town and a lovely little community,” said councillor Mark Jones, portfolioholder for Growth and Regeneration.

“It does show that the planners and everyone is working for [both] the north and the south who sometimes think they get forgotten, but it highlights that we are doing a good job.”

As part of the emerging local plan, Bishop’s Castle will be expected to deliver around 150 dwellings and 3 hectares of employment development to meet local needs between 2016 and 2038.

Shropshire Council has earmarked May 2 as a provisional date for the referendum.