A MAJOR expansion will be carried out at a business park in rural south Shropshire in a bid to boost the local economy.

Shropshire Council has given planning permission to add four new industrial units to the Bishops Castle Business Park in a bid to attract new investment in the town.

The plans were approved by the newly formed southern planning committee.

“I am speaking in favour of this,” said Ruth Houghton, the recently elected new Liberal Democrat councillor for Bishops Castle.

“Businesses in the town tell me they are waiting to expand. It will help them and it will help smaller start-up businesses who are looking for somewhere.

“It will develop jobs, create jobs and secure jobs so I am happy with it. The whole town is in favour of it.”

Councillor Simon Harris added: “This has been greatly received and this planning committee should welcome it.

“It’s adding value to the area and creating and keeping jobs.”

In the application, the council said: “The business park has been partially developed in a piecemeal fashion to provide owner-occupier industrial accommodation for local businesses including a building supplier and veterinary surgery.

“There are allotments to the north-west, a lane to the north-east which leads to a sewage treatment works to the south-east and to the south-west a derelict building which was a children’s nursery.

“The proposed business units will occupy the undeveloped and unserviced land to the north of Bishops Castle Business Park which extends to approximately 1.61 hectares.

“The economy of Bishops Castle requires support to ensure that the businesses already in the town can have the opportunity to expand and grow and to ensure the future vibrancy of the community.”

He warned of businesses going elsewhere if the development did not go ahead at the business park.

“If the development does not take place, the consequences could be that the businesses relocate to areas that can provide the expansion land they need, forcing employees to either commute, creating the potential of a dormitory town, or the employees will relocate with their jobs.

“Both scenarios will be detrimental to the future sustainability and viability of an active market town.”