Rules designed to protect Ludlow’s heritage attacked by developers

This is the second of my articles on the more technical aspects of SAMDev, the plans that sets out development sites for Ludlow and the rest of the county. The first explained that a consultation has been held on the final draft of SAMDev. Among the responses to that consultation is an attack on planning rules designed to protect Ludlow’s heritage. Historic England has asked for these rules to be strengthened.

Turley Associates representing Richborough Estates – the company that hopes to develop housing off Foldgate Lanehave objected to new wording designed to strengthen protection of Ludlow’s historic landscape (S10.1/MM154). The original wording read:

All development should have regard to the setting of the historic core of the town recognising the importance of Ludlow Castle as an historic asset of national and international significance.

After representations from Historic England, the wording was changed to:

All development should protect, restore and enhance the setting and significance of the…

Turley say the new wording does not comply with national rules and legislation, and cannot be implemented in practice. It wants the wording changed to “sustain and / or enhance the character and appearance” and the council to draw up criteria for assessing whether a development sustains and enhances the historic core of the town.

Barton Wilmore, acting for developer J Ross, says the new wording is onerous and should only apply to “relevant or town centre” sites – that is development which is capable of having an impact on the historic core of the town or its setting.

Historic England says the proposed amendment is not correct. It had proposed the phrase “protect, conserve and enhance” not “protect, restore and enhance”. That makes more sense than the SAMDev suggestion that development should restore heritage or its setting.

I do not agree with Turley’s amendment. It is perfectly possible to define criteria to support the new wording that requires developments to “protect, conserve and enhance the setting and significance” of our heritage (to use Historic England’s wording).

I think the Barton Wilmore proposal is sensible. We do not need to consider, for example, whether a low building on the Parys Road industrial area will “protect, conserve and enhance” the historic centre. But it needs to be clearly understood that building on the outskirts of town could have an impact on the views and setting of the historic centre, especially of the castle and St Laurence’s.[i]

Notes

[i]. It always worries me that we don’t have the main views of Ludlow protected by planning rules. Rules to protect key views and sightlines are in place in London and Oxford. Views of our historic centre and the castle are surely as worthy of protection as those of St Pauls and those of the dreaming spires?