Oakley Hall and Park

The proposed site borders a Grade 11 * listed Queen Anne Mansion Oakley Hall and Parkland & can be seen clearly from the driveway, garden,bridle ways and footpaths which run through this estate.
  • Shropshire Core Policy CS17 indicates that development should protect and enhance the high quality and local character of Shropshire’s built and historic environmental and that it should not adversely affect the visual or heritage values and functions of these assets.
  • Oakley Hall and Park is part of a local character area of uninterrupted English countryside celebrated for its history, beauty, diversity and tranquility.
  • The Hall is  described as  ‘A beautiful Grade II* Queen Anne country house set in rolling parkland’ by Historic Houses Association; ‘important’ and ‘one of the finest stately homes in Shropshire’ by Savills Estate Agents; and ‘One of Shropshire’s most cherished houses’ by County Life Magazine.
  • A heritage and horticultural destination for travel groups at Oakley Hall Park which offers tours as part of the Historic Houses and Gardens Scheme https://www.historichouses.org/houses/house-listing/oakley-hall.html




  • No significant material changes have been made, only small changes to try and satisfy the independent reviews previously under taken by Shropshire Council & Pegasus, such as – definition of land type/correction of the definition of visual receptors/ further photos of VPs/Screening
  • The applicant states that the impact of the development is not significant on the receiving landscape and area.
  • But we believe that the site is a visual intrusion and can be seem from many different view points.
  • Since the initial application, the applicant has submitted further landscaping (over 13,000 trees and other shrubs) to try mitigate magnitude of development. Included is unsympathetic block planting which completely changes the current landscape classified as timbered pastures – a very rare type of landscape in the U.K. which should be preserved!
  • This proposal is NOT a diversification of an existing farm business (core strategy CS5)



The proposed development has an impact for for walkers, horse riders, cyclists, nature enthusiasts, photographers and those taking regular exercise who all use the public footpaths and bridleways around the proposed development site.

The local area of Betton and Norton-in-Hales significantly contributes towards the local visitor economy see some examples below:

  • Annual Equestrian Horse Trials at Brand Hall.
  • Wildlife Tourism at Shropshire Photography Wildlife Hides located at Oakley Park for nature and wildlife enthusiasts:
  • A heritage and horticultural destination for travel groups at Oakley Hall Park which offers tours as part of the Historic Houses and Gardens Scheme.
  • Weddings: Oakley Hall is an approved licensed venue with Staffordshire County Council.
  • Norton-In-Hales Cricket Club whom also host wedding receptions.
  • Greenhill Farm (near Betton) – a registered site with the UK Caravan and Motorhome Club.
  • As a contributor to fringe events that take place during the local award winning Ginger and Spice Festival’.
  • Heritage tourism at St Chad’s Church Norton-In-Hales linked to the Cotton family tomb designed by England’s first significant architect Inigo Jones. St Chad’s Church is also part of the Shropshire Historic Churches Association.
  • A destination for food and drink visitor sector: both the Hinds Head Pub and Restaurant (owned by the local community) www.hinds-head.co.uk and pop-up dining experiences at Oakley Hall & the village hall.
  • A destination for recreation: cyclists– cycle network 552 and also promoted on Route 4 within the Market Drayton Cycle Rides.
  • A popular destination for walkers and ramblers.
  • Horticultural tourism visits to Shropshire’s Best Kept Village – RHS Britain in Bloom Winner.
  • Parish Festival in Norton-In-Hales and numerous off shoot events such as the Jazz in the cloisters/beer festival.
  • Heritage and wildlife walks and talks in and around the area with local and national experts.
  • Use of Local B&Bs, see Air BnB.


Click here to read about the Impact on Oakley Hall and Park

Ecology – Hedgerow

To make way for a new entrance and splay to the proposed site, the applicant proposes to rip out 150m of historic hedgerow which contains over 10 native woody species, numerous habitats for wildlife and signs of historic hedge laying.

As the hedge includes over 7 native woody species and signs of historic hedge laying, it may well fall under protection of the Hedgerow Regulation Act 1997.

We will be calling for a full survey, which to date, has not been done by the applicant. 

Ecology – Otters

We have video and photographic evidence (see below) of otters on the Tern River, very close to the proposed development site. We submitted this information to Shropshire Council and subsequently, the applicant has included a very short survey in the revised ecology report.

The survey concludes that as no fields sign were observed on site on the day of the survey, the site is unsuitable for forging or breeding otters!

We know this is not the case. The founder and chair of the UK Wild Otter Trust, Dave Webb, previously expressed his concerns to Shropshire Planning – see here and will be doing so again. He is also coming to talk to us on 23rd April 2019 – more info later.

Did the survey actually take place?
We are not sure if the survey actually went ahead as there is no evidence to show this: no map of the route surveyed, no target notes with grid references showing areas of the locations of potential breeding sites & resting sites.

Serious Threat to Otter Habitat
The Otters and their habitats would be under very serious threat if this kind of intensive poultry development went ahead. The potential risk of pollution from run off from 32,000 free ranging birds and their excrement into the Brook, River Tern and water course would be catastrophic for Otters and other wildlife. 

Otters are extremely sensitive creatures and even small changes in scent and odour can change their behaviour put their habitat under threat. 

We will be asking for another Otter survey to take place. 

Otters are protected under schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.


Read about Hedgerows here

Ecology – Badgers

Subsequently to new information provided by the Shropshire Badger Group, the Applicant has submitted a preliminary badger survey within the revised ecology report.

The Survey finds ‘2 newly occupied seasonal subsidiary setts in Betton Brook, a recently occupied outlying sett and a long established main sett with several entrance holes.’

This is significant as the first ecology report, written by the same ecologists, stated that:- ”No badger setts were observed either on the site or within 50m of the site’s perimeter and no field signs that could be attributed to badgers were observed on the site”. Craig Emms and Linda Barnett.

The Survey recommends that a 15m exclusion zone, to be placed around the entrance hole to the subsidiary badger setts, is sufficient. Also two more surveys before work commences. However, no recommendations are made about protecting the main active badger setts which are located VERY close to the site boundary. 

Badgers and their setts are protected under Protection of Badgers Act 1992.


Read about Otters here.