Update 25 May 2016
The applicant has now appealed to the planning inspectorate. I have submitted a detailed objection to the scheme.
Main article 3 October 2015
A year after they were submitted, council planners have rejected plans for five houses, four for open market sale and one affordable, on a greenfield site south of Burway Lane on the outskirts of Ludlow (14/04215/OUT). This is very much the right decision as only affordable housing for identified needs should be built outside the town’s development boundary. (One affordable house on the adjacent plot has already been approved.)
In rejecting the application, Shropshire Council said the development would be significantly harmful to the character and appearance of the area. It said, “Development of this ribbon like nature, and set at this particular location, would greatly affect this soft transition into the open countryside beyond.” The council continued:
The proposed development, by virtue of its isolated and therefore detached location from the main settlement of Ludlow, would lead to sporadic and unsustainable development, promoting rather than reducing the need for vehicular travel to access local services. Moreover, the site is set within an area defined as open countryside where new dwellings are only permitted where required to accommodate key agricultural, forestry or other essential countryside workers, or to meet a local need for affordable housing/accommodation. No such need has been demonstrated in this case and the proposal is further considered as representing unsustainable development.
The council’s rights of way team had noted that the access to the property was over a bridleway, which does not have vehicular access rights. Shropshire highways said it had no objection to development at this location but had no plans to upgrade the bridleway to carriageway status. It says the number of dwellings should be reduced but concluded that a highways objection to the scheme would “unlikely to be sustained at planning appeal”.
I was surprised that Shropshire Council did not object on grounds of damage to the setting of the historic core of Ludlow, which is protected under the nearly complete local plan SAMDev, and national legislation and policies.
The plans had received 19 objections, including from the Plymouth Estate, the Ludlow Conservation Area Advisory Committee and Ludlow Town Council.
In my objection, I said the site is outside the development boundary show in SAMDev. The road and bridleway are too narrow to accommodate turning of vehicles making deliveries, or for that matter emergency vehicles. The access is too narrow to accommodate vehicles alongside horses and pedestrians. I argued the development does not have regard to the setting of the historic core of Ludlow and will damage a unique and stunning view of Ludlow Castle, St Laurence’s church and the historic town. It is one of three viewpoints that make walkers stop in admiration on first encounter with Ludlow (the others being: the approach to the castle along the current route of the Shropshire Way from Priors Halton to Ludlow; and the view from the Whitcliffe). The proposed development detracts from the natural, built and historic environment, while council planning policies require developments to protect, restore, conserves and enhance the environment. I concluded that the site is not sustainable under the terms of the National Planning Policy Framework and conflicts with several local policies.
This is the second time that a planning application has been rejected for this site. South Shropshire District Council rejected an application for eight dwellings in 2002.