I’m objecting to a new petrol station on the Corve floodplain in Ludlow

Plans have been submitted for a petrol station on the junction of Bromfield Road and Coronation Avenue. It will have a convenience store and a coffee shop. I am opposing this development (14/00563/FUL) on the grounds of flood risk and increased traffic in area used by large numbers of schoolchildren.

The environmental consequences of a spillage from a petrol station at this location, whether during a flood or otherwise, are barely imaginable. We would see significant destruction of wildlife along the Corve and Teme and huge damage to our tourist economy.

Ludlow needs a second petrol station. The existing station at Harry Tuffins is overcrowded. But I do not think that Ludlow needs a further convenience store. A coffee shop will bring no benefits to the town and will draw trade away from the town centre.

The applicant suggests that the convenience store is “very unlikely to be a destination in its own right.” This is amplified in the accompanying Heritage Impact Statement, which states:

“The PFS and associated convenience store will not be a traffic generator in its own right. The customer base will with minimal exceptions be from existing traffic travelling along Coronation Avenue, hence there will be no significant extra traffic associated with the proposed development. There is no reason why traffic along Corve Street will increase as a result of this proposal.”

These comments do not pass muster. The Coronation Avenue store will be commensurate in size with Harry Tuffins, which has proved to be a very busy convenience store. With 25 car parking spaces, the proposed development will prove handier than Harry Tuffins or the East Hamlet One Stop for many motorists. With a coffee shop attached, it will undoubtedly become a “destination” taking trade from elsewhere.

I have no objections to the design of the building or the site layout.

The Transport Statement states that the “highway in the vicinity of the application site has a good road safety record.” As noted above, the petrol station is likely to attract extra traffic. This is of considerable concern given the number of young school children that walk nearby, especially in the morning when traffic is at a peak. The pedestrian crossing a short way north of the site is heavily used and visibility approaching the crossing is poor.

The fatal flaw for this planning application is that it lies in Flood Zone 2.

The Flood Risk Assessment for the scheme states:

“‘Less vulnerable’ development is appropriate in Flood Zones 2 and 3a. The proposed development is therefore considered appropriate for the Site in a flood risk planning context.”

‘Less vulnerable’ development is defined in the Technical Guidance to the National Planning Policy Framework, Table 2 and Table 3 (replaced and retained in the new online guidance). These tables aim to ensure essential infrastructure is not knocked out during flooding events, and that emergency facilities and procedures operate in a flood event. They do not aim to deal with the environmental consequences that might happen if a site, such as a petrol station, floods. It is notable, and not helpful, that the guidance fails to mention petrol fuel stations.

National planning guidance does not give a carte blanche for allowing development in Zone 2 regardless of the potential consequences.

This scheme must be rejected on the grounds of traffic and flood risk.