Plans resubmitted for 20 retirement dwellings at Elm Lodge, Ludlow

Last November, Shropshire planning officers rejected outline plans for 20 retirement dwellings on the goods yard at Elm Lodge, Fishmore Road (14/00884/OUT). Now, the unchanged plans have been resubmitted with the applicants hoping for approval this time (15/01027/OUT).

The scheme

This is an outline application so we don’t know the full details of the development. The application is only to establish the principle of a retirement settlement on this site and the road access. If the application is successful, a full application will determine the details of the scheme.

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The applicants say the scheme will be secure, linked to a call centre and restricted to over 55’s:

It is proposed to include approximately 20 retirement dwellings on the majority of the existing haulage yard site. The preference is for bungalows and they will have a separate vehicular access as detailed on the submitted plan. Most will enjoy views over the landscaped land to the south. It is proposed to restrict occupation (through condition or by agreement) to the over 55’s. Each bungalow will be linked to a local call centre, through an alarm system where 24 hour cover is provided in the case of emergency. The site will be secure by design, including security gates and a secure entry system. It is proposed to retain much of the screen hedge around the site to enclose the development. The existing shop will provide daily consumable goods to the residents of the bungalows. The bungalows will enjoy the open views around the site and each will have its own private garden in addition to the communal areas. Each bungalow will be fully Disability Discrimination Act compliant.

The planning context

The original application was turned down by planners because the site lies outside the development boundary for Ludlow:

As a result the site is located in open countryside for planning purposes and the proposed development would be contrary to Policy CS5 of the Council’s Core Strategy. Although the site is ‘brownfield’ land and there would be highway benefits from relocating the haulage business, the location is not sustainable and the close proximity of the [Elm Farm] livestock building to the site would have a detrimental impact on the amenity of residents.

Planners also said there had been no assessment of whether there are great crested newts in a nearby pond. In the resubmission, the planning consultants say they have now conducted the required ecological surveys and “no negative impact is expected as a result of development” on great crested newts.

The application says that planners previously “failed to consider fully the economic, social and environmental merits of the case” as required by national policy. It sets out the benefits of the scheme under the standard headings of economic, social and environmental sustainability.

The economic benefits lie in building work and “the addition of the over 55’s housing is likely to create additional long term employment for local trades and businesses in the area.”

The social benefits are cited as “constant growth in demand for over 55’s housing, retirement accommodation and care facilities for the elderly.” The application says: “The proposed housing will free up larger family homes in Ludlow and the surrounding area as people choose to down size.”

Environmentally, the application notes that the aim is to move the existing Elm Lodge goods yard to a site at Woofferton and in doing so take heavy wagons off Fishmore Road. “The existing yard makes no contribution to the local environment, whereas the over 55’s housing will contribute significantly.”

The application says that the agricultural building adjacent to the site will not create nuisance for the residents of the proposed scheme.

The next steps

Comments should ideally be made by 23 April, but will be accepted after this date if a decision hasn’t been made. See my guide to commenting on planning applications.

I know the applicants well in this case. Accordingly, I will not be making any comment on the merits or otherwise of this proposal, which will be determined by officers or the South Planning Committee.