Shropshire Council

Bishop's Castle and surrounding area

Place plans were developed to include a main centre (often a market town) and its surrounding smaller towns, villages, and rural hinterland. These areas are recognised in the Local Plan as functioning geographical areas, with strong linkages to and from the main town and the wider area.

The Bishop's Castle and Surrounding Area Place Plan covers the area identified within the red outline on the map image on this page. It summarises and prioritises the local infrastructure needs which are required to support the sustainable development of the area, and identifies the wider investment needs to assist delivery of the community’s vision and aspirations.

Data and information review

The infrastructure project list is based on information submitted to us by town and parish councils in each place plan area. This information is then tested against data held by us, and further informed by consultation with a range of infrastructure providers.

By gathering this information, we've been able to understand more clearly the needs of each place plan area and use this information to make some difficult decisions about prioritisation of projects.

Key infrastructure issues

A review of information for this area has shown that key infrastructure issues are:

  • Affordable housing provision is an issue across the area
  • Upgrade to broadband provision is required across the area
  • Upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities, and to flood prevention facilities / plans, are required across the area
  • Upgrades to electricity supply are required in key locations.


Several projects have been identified and prioritised for the area. You can find the details for each project in the Bishop's Castle place plan which is attached to this page to view or download.

This area within the countywide plan

Core Strategy policies

The Core Strategy recognises the role of Shropshire’s market towns and key centres through a specific policy – Policy CS3. This policy outlines how all of our towns have distinctive identities, which new development is expected to reinforce by respecting each town’s distinctive character, and by being sensitive to its landscape setting, historic features, and the town's functions.

You can view the full Core Strategy on our planning policy web pages.

For Bishop’s Castle, Policy CS3 recognises that:

  • Bishop’s Castle (population 1,800) is a medieval settlement with a large number of historic buildings, located close to the Welsh border
  • Its remote location means that it is an important service centre both for its own residents and for its rural hinterland despite being one of the smallest of Shropshire’s market towns
  • It is an important employment town, with the number of jobs it supports exceeding the number of resident workers - for a settlement of its size, employment self-containment is high
  • Housing tenures in the local joint committee area at the time of the 2001 Census were 70.7% owner occupied, 20.2% private rented and 9.1% social rented

SAMDev policies

Bishop’s Castle

  • Bishop’s Castle will provide the focus for development in this part of Shropshire, with a housing guideline of around 150 dwellings for the period 2006-2026
  • New housing development will be delivered through the allocation of a greenfield site together with a windfall allowance
  • The existing employment commitment for the Phase 2 expansion of Bishop’s Castle Business Park will be re-allocated as the most sustainable location for employment development
  • Mitigation measures will be required to remove the adverse effects of development on the integrity of the River Clun
  • Windfall opportunities to develop suitable small-scale employment uses appropriate rural locations will be permitted


  • Bucknell is a community hub with a housing guideline of around 100 dwellings over the period to 2026
  • The majority of dwellings will be delivered through the allocation of a single large, mixed use site close to or adjoining the principal services including the employment area, train station, village shop and village hall
  • The balance of housing development will be delivered through opportunities for small scale development on windfall sites within the existing development boundary


  • Chirbury is a community hub with a housing guideline of around 30 additional dwellings over the period to 2026
  • Housing will be delivered through the development of the allocated site identified on the policies map


  • Clun is a community hub with a housing guideline of 70 new dwellings over the period to 2026
  • This development will be delivered through the allocation of a single large site located on the eastern edge of the town close to the existing services including the surgery and business park

Lydbury North

  • Lydbury North is a community hub with a housing guideline of around 20 dwellings for the period to 2026
  • This growth will be delivered exclusively on four allocated housing sites, which are capable of providing around 20 dwellings of a mix of types, sizes and designs to accommodate a broad range of housing demands

Local Plan Review

We started reviewing our Local Plan in 2017 and recently consulted on the preferred sites which are needed to meet the county’s development needs during the period to 2036. The new Plan is unlikely to be adopted before 2021. The review will ensure that the Local Plan continues to be the primary consideration for decisions about development in Shropshire by maintaining robust and defensible policies that conform with national policy and address the changing circumstances within the County and beyond.

Key points from the Local Plan Review include:

  • Bishop’s Castle will act as a key centre and contribute towards the strategic growth objectives in the south of the county
  • The Local Plan Review will seek to achieve balanced housing and employment growth
  • Between 2006/07 and 2016/17 the average housing delivery rate in Bishop’s Castle was seven dwellings per year - the annual build rate required over the Local Plan Review period is eight dwellings per year
  • As of 1 April 2016 around three hectares of employment land were already committed in Bishop’s Castle so there is no requirement to identify any more
  • Within the Bishop’s Castle place plan area, four proposed community hubs have been identified, these are: Bucknell, Chirbury, Clun, Worthen and Brockton

More about Bishop's Castle

The Bishop’s Castle place plan area is situated on the England/Wales border in south west Shropshire. It covers an area of over 200 square miles and has a sparse population of around 6,000 people. The main settlements in the area are Bishop’s Castle, Bucknell, Clun, Worthen and Chirbury.

Settlement in the area dates back to the Neolithic age and some ancient monuments from early history, including Bury Ditches in the Clun Valley, still remain.

***From the Saxon period through to the 1660’s the area was subject to territorial battles between England and Wales when fortified buildings to defend settlements started to be built, and Offa’s Dyke remains to this time.*** - check text!

Over time, these developed into settlements. Trade routes for sheep and produce were formed with Wales and England, and markets were established in Bishop’s Castle and Clun. Agriculture became the established industry in the area. Mining took place in the Snailbeach and Stiperstones areas from Roman times, but mining became a major industry in the 18th and 19th century with large numbers of people employed in the lead mining industry. Breweries catering for the agricultural and mine workers were established and many still exist today. Timber industries also emerged in the area.

The railway came to the area during the industrial revolution, the sheep and mining resources to the new emerging Black Country markets. These proved to be short lived however, and as cheaper imports from abroad reached Britain<, the area’s industry started to decline and the rail links were lost by the 1900s

The rural landscape is dominated by the Long Mynd and Stiperstones ridges to the east of the place plan area, and the hill ranges along the Clun Valley and Black Mountains near Llanfair Waterdine.

Much of the area is in the Shropshire Hills Area of Natural Beauty (AONB), making it popular with tourists, particularly walkers, using the Offa’s Dyke, Shropshire Way and Kerry Ridgeway paths. Festivals such as Clun’s Green Man Festival and Bishop’s Castle’s Michaelmas Fair are important events in the tourism calendar

The large rural geography of the area, together with the sparse population, does make delivery of services and facilities more difficult, with Bishop’s Castle proving the main settlement in the area where a secondary school, leisure centre and small hospital are located. The main A488 road travels north to south and provides the main link from this place plan area into Shrewsbury in the north, and south to Knighton

List of parishes and local elected members

This place plan covers the following town and parish councils:

  • Bedstone and Bucknell Parish Council
  • Bettws-y-Crwyn Parish Council
  • Bishop’s Castle Town Council
  • Chirbury with Brompton Parish Council
  • Clun Town Council and Chapel Lawn
  • Clunbury Parish Council
  • Clungunford Parish Council</ li>
  • Edgton Parish Meeting
  • Hopton Castle Parish Meeting
  • Hopton Wafers Parish Council
  • Llanfair Waterdine Parish Council
  • Lydbury North Parish Council
  • Lydham and More Parish Meeting
  • Mainstone with Colebatch Parish Council
  • Myndtown, Norbury, Ratlinghope and Wentnor Parish Council
  • Newcastle on Clun Parish Council
  • Stowe Parish Council
  • Worthen with Shelve Parish Council

The following Shropshire Council elected members represent constituencies within this place plan area:

  • Heather Kidd (Chirbury and Worthen Ward)
  • Vacancy August 2019 (Bishop’s Castle Ward)
  • Nigel Hartin (Clun Ward)

Other local plans

When developing the place plan for an area, we also look at any other local plans and strategies that focus on infrastructure needs within this area.

For Bishop's Castle and the surrounding area, the relevant plans include:

Community led or parish plans

  • Bishop’s Castle Parish Plan (2004/05) and update from Town Council (February 2011)
  • Bedstone and Bucknell Parish Plan (2016) </ li>
  • Chirbury, Middleton and Marton Wards Parish Plan (2018)
  • Clun and Chapel Lawn Parish Plan (2009)
  • Llanfair Waterdine Community Led Plan (2016)
  • Lydbury North Parish Plan (2008)
  • Worthen and Shelve Parish (2015 and under review)
  • Clunbury Parish Plan (2009)
  • Myndtown Combined Parish Plan (2006) – Myndtown, Norbury, Ratlinghope and Wentnor (2015)
  • Newcastle-on-Clun Parish Council (2014)

Neighbourhood Plan / Plan 'Light'

A new neighbourhood plan for Bishop’s Castle is currently being prepared. Find out more on the Bishop's Castle town council website.