Shropshire Council

Wem 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 Wem 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 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 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:

  • Potential requirement to upgrade and improve the capacity of the wastewater treatment works to provide the necessary scope to support new development.
  • Possible provision of additional school places in response to development.


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

This area in the countywide plan

Core Strategy

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 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 towns’ functions.

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

For Wem, Policy CS3 recognises that:

  • Balanced housing and employment development of appropriate scale and design will support Wem’s distinct character.
  • The town is not a main shopping or employment centre, with Shrewsbury the main beneficiary of leaked retail expenditure. Many more people commute out of Wem to work than commute in.
  • More than 90% of employees who work in Wem are in the service sector, with public administration, education, and health accounting for a substantial 43.1% of all jobs.
  • There is currently no hydraulic capacity at the Wem Wastewater Treatment Works and a new discharge consent will be required in order to ensure there is no deterioration of water quality under the Water Framework Directive.

SAMDev policies

The SAMDev Plan also provides brief settlement policies for each place plan area. You can read more from the SAMDev Plan on our planning policy web pages.

The policies for Wem and then for the wider area, are as follows:

  • Wem will provide a focus for modest growth of approximately 500 dwellings and 4 hectares of employment land.
  • The allocated sites are located to the north-west and south-west of Wem, to limit the potential for further cross-town traffic and to reflect significant safety and congestion concerns.
  • Existing employment areas will be safeguarded, and an additional 4 hectares of employment land is identified.
  • Mitigation measures will be required to remove any adverse effects from development in Wem on the integrity of wildlife sites at the Fenns, Whixall, Bettisfield, Wem and Cadney Mosses SAC / Ramsar.

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:

  • Wem has been identified as a key centre and contributes towards strategic growth objectives in the north-east of the county.
  • The review will seek to achieve balanced housing and employment growth.
  • The review will need to identify suitable opportunities for the delivery of around a further 305 dwellings and 2 hectares of employment land on allocated sites and/or windfall development.
  • The strategy and associated level of proposed growth recognises significant town centre traffic management issues, safety issues associated with the railway level crossing, and the need for measures to mitigate potential adverse effects from development in Wem on the integrity of protected wildlife sites.
  • Community Hubs are identified at Clive, Hadnall, and Shawbury.

More about Wem

Wem is located to the north of Shrewsbury. The area is predominantly rural in nature and contains a mixture of housing in terms of age and type. Wem is a market town and is relatively well served for shops and other amenities. The A49 is close to the town and provides access towards Shrewsbury and Cheshire. The train station at Wem provides access for onward travel from Shrewsbury and Crewe.

The name of the town is derived from the Saxon ‘Wamm’ meaning a marsh, with marshy lands existing in the area of the town around the River Roden.  The area is believed to have first been settled by the Celtic Iron Age settlers who left evidence of two settlements.

The town is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as consisting of four manors. In 1202 Wem was granted the status of a market town and weekly markets are still retained today.

Sir Thomas Adams was born in Wem in 1586 and was a local landowner, tanner, and former Lord Mayor of London. In 1650 he founded a free school in the town, the Adams Grammar School, which still exists today as Adams School. The Great Fire of Wem occurred in 1677, when a candle started a fire that destroyed most of the wooden buildings in the town.  The sweet pea was first commercially cultivated in Wem by Henry Eckford in 1887. Each year the Wem Sweet Pea Festival attracts visitors from around the world.

List of parishes and local elected members

This plan covers the following parish councils:

  • Clive Parish Council
  • Grinshill Parish Council
  • Hadnall Parish Council
  • Loppington Parish Council
  • Moreton Corbet & Lee Brockhurst Parish Council
  • Myddle and Broughton Parish Council
  • Shawbury Parish Council
  • Stanton upon Hine Heath Parish Council
  • Wem Rural Parish Council
  • Wem Town Council
  • Weston under Redcastle Parish Council
  • Whixall Parish Council

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

  • Councillor Pauline Dee (Wem Ward)
  • Councillor Chris Mellings (Wem Ward)
  • Councillor Brian Williams (The Meres Ward)
  • Councillor Simon Jones (Shawbury Ward)
  • Councillor Karen Calder (Hodnet Ward)

You can view each councillor's profile on the 'Your Councillor' section of our Committee Services web pages.

Other local plans

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

For Wem and the surrounding area, the relevant plans include:

Community led or parish plans

Neighbourhood Plan / Plan 'Light'

Local Economic Growth Strategy for Wem

In October 2017, Shropshire Council published its Economic Growth Strategy for 2017-2021. One of the key actions identified within the Strategy was the development of a local growth strategy for each of our key market towns. In addition, smaller market towns such as Wem were also able to utilise the template to support their own work, and Wem Economic Forum are currently exploring this.  

The Local Economic Growth Strategy for Wem is likely to focus on a number of key aspirations around the regeneration of the town including:

  • Transport improvements
  • Accessibility and connectivity improvements
  • Re-use of empty properties within the town, including small-scale office space for employment opportunities
  • Environmental sustainability of town’s assets
  • Development of green infrastructure to encourage more cycling and walking
  • Development of a tourism destination action plan