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Parish council says 'no' to Drakelow Tunnels museum
7:20am Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
PLANS for a museum, gift shop and cafe at the Drakelow Tunnels site should be refused according to Wolverley and Cookley parish councillors.
The council unanimously recommended that Wyre Forest District Council reject the proposals, submitted by the Swiss owners Quercus Ilex SA, for a museum and visitor centre to be built at the former Second World War aero engine factory.
The development would be funded by three blocks of semi-detached houses built near to the site.
Councillor Peter Smith told the parish council on Tuesday (sept 3): “This is not appropriate development in the greenbelt.
“I don’t think the case is made, personally. People haven’t been able to lay a brick in this area for many, many years.
“This site was taken over by the Government at the beginning of the Second World War and at the end of the war it was returned to its natural state. It’s a special case.
“To allow this to go ahead on the basis of the planning gain would set a terrible precedent, where any commercial organisation could use this method to start a business by building houses.”
Mr Smith said that for the museum to be viable it would need to attract an “awful lot more” visitors than the 30 car parking spaces recommended in the plans.
He added: “I’m concerned about the safety of the site. I feel there’s been no approach to the Health and Safety Executive. These caves are dangerous - it’s well known they are subject to roof falls.”
Councillor John Hart said he had received lots of calls from residents who did not want the application to go through.
Resident Pat Cartwright, of Kingsford Lane, told the council: “As a person who has lived in the countryside for the past 40 years, I’ve always tried my best to be fair but this is going to decimate rather than create.”
At a meeting last week, Kinver Parish councillors recommended that the application is approved but raised concerns about the increase of traffic and wanted a condition in place to tie the money from the sale of the houses to the museum.
The district council’s consultation finishes today and officers will now decide whether or not to grant planning permission.
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