Foldgate Lane housing has been approved on appeal – it’s the worst of planning decisions

Today the planning inspectorate announced that it has given approval to controversial plans to build 137 houses off Foldgate Lane.

I am knocked breathless by this decision. The inspector has shown total disregard for our local plans. He says that we are building enough housing and have allocated enough sites for development. Yet he thinks that we need another 137 houses stuck on the edge of Ludlow.

This is dangerous decision.

This is the second time in the last year that the planning inspectorate in Bristol has decided that it knows better than local planners and residents what is good for our town. It is the second time a planning inspector has ignored our local plan, a document known as SAMDev.

A year ago, a planning inspector approved 215 houses off Bromfield Road. With the 137 homes approved today, the town will get around 1,327 new homes over the planning period (which runs from 2006 to 2026). That is 52% more than this town has ever signed up to.

A small town like this needs to grow gradually. It needs to grow in a way that is planned. It needs to grow in a way that has the support of local people.

This decision means that whenever a developer applies to build housing on the edge of Ludlow, it is likely to get rubber stamped by an official in Bristol.

Approval of these houses looks to me like the death of local planning in the county. It certainly looks like the death of local planning in Ludlow.

We have worked hard to ensure that we get the right development in Ludlow. We have committed to building enough housing to meet our future needs. Our community has been let down by this decision. Our town has been let down by the planning system.

We want a town that thrives. We want a town with the right sort of housing in the right of place. We want a town that is planned by local people, not by planning inspectors who visit our town for just a few hours before deciding.

I have seen some bad planning decisions in my time. This is amongst the worst of them.

Foldgate site location with t-junction

11 thoughts on “Foldgate Lane housing has been approved on appeal – it’s the worst of planning decisions

  1. good luck with the sewage and storm drainage that field facing greenacres is a mire during the winter months, and a pool gathers alongside the rail lines and this will surely compound this and god knows if the track will slide down into steventon .
    its very bad planning for sure

  2. Is that really the end of the process? Sorry, I’m not up on planning processes. regards Ian Maxwell-Muller

  3. The ony way to stop this happening in future my view is to purchase the land from the farmer before the developers do. This is what local people did in an area of Pennsylvania I am familiar through family living there. The areas was being ruined by development on land sold off by local farmers, so local people set up a trust to purchase the land and farmers were encouraged to go there first if they were thinking of selling. The purchased land was then planted with forest or turned into parks. But surely (I won’t say greedy) farmers should be forbidden in an AONB to sell land designated as farmland for housing as they are in a national park?

  4. Yes, this was indeed the most cavalier of decisions, based on very little Justification it would seem, since it was clear land for housing met requirements.
    Is this the end of the road?
    I gather from a previous blog that another application in Shropshire, granted on appeal, has recently been overturned with significant criticism of the Planning Inspector’s reasons for letting it through.. Could Shropshire Council be encouraged to challenge the Foldgate decision aswell, especially since their other challenge was so successful. What sort of encouragement might help?

  5. The more I read this sort of thing the more I despise the British way of allowing central bodies to make decisions of a profound nature for local issues which should be decided by a democratically elected body – namely the one we call a Town Council.
    Why oh why can we not have democracy at every level not just national level? By that I mean a local council that can make local decisions which are binding for local people (a local town council for local people).
    it is bad enough Shropshire COuncil having a say in our local matters without an unelected bureaucrat making important decisions regarding our town.

    I am disaffected bu the whole charade… I hope they build a sewage works in front of his/her property…

  6. I see no point in electing a council at any level if its decisions and plans can be overturned in this way by some distant office department. We might as well save money and have one national office probably in London making planning decisions for everywhere.

    There is a map of Plaistow in East London that looks just like a map of our countryside. A sheriff made it in the 18th century. Perhaps someone wants this part of Shropshire to turn into a characterless sprawl too. Developers will see to it.

    How I hope Shropshire Council will take this to the Supreme Court. A bad, bad decision.

    1. I fully agree and concur with your comment, even Shropshire County Council should have no vote over Ludlow Town council in planning matters….giving power to local people for local decisions should be a fundamental right in a true democracy not some unelected quango type official pontificating a hundred miles away…

  7. One of the better places for new homes in Ludlow. Let’s hope the work starts ASAP to alleviate the chronic shortage of affordable homes in the town.

    No surprise the appeal was successful. Shropshire Council put no effort into its submission. The Council had no conviction in its earlier refusal.

    The Planning Inspectorate is a convenient way of passing the buck to an outsider. Forcing him to take the rap for contentious decisions. At that point, Shropshire Council just shrugs; its hands washed of the affair.

    Besides, in the last appeal – the 215 homes for Fishmore / Bromfield Rd – Shropshire Council never even showed up at the Public Inquiry. It presented no evidence, and no explanation for its earlier refusal. And that’s why the appeal was granted by default. Pathetic.

    No wonder Shropshire Council garners such low respect. For planning matters it’s not worth having.

    1. There are inaccuracies in this comment.

      Shropshire Council put a huge effort into the Foldgate Lane appeal, retaining a top-flight barrister to present its case over the six days. He was backed up by a team of specialists from the council and a planning consultant.

      The council had conviction in refusing the original planning decision. That’s why it put a team in place to fight the appeal.

      At the Bromfield Road inquiry, council planners were present from the moment it opened to the moment it closed. But I agree with the comment that the council presented no evidence and didn’t defend the appeal. As I have said many times before, that was wrong.

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