Is it time for another 1,000 homes in Ludlow? The big planning debate is now

I want to argue the case that we should plan big for Ludlow. That would mean we get it right and have new developments we can be proud of. We should plan for a garden suburb between Rocks Green and Sheet village. That’s maybe 1,000 houses. We shouldn’t rush this. After all, we have yet to build out the 700 Ludlow homes currently in the pipeline. But we need to plan for our town’s future now.

Shropshire Council is consulting on its revised local plan. It doesn’t involve 1,000 homes in Ludlow. That’s my gambit.

Join us at the Elim Church on Thursday night, 6.30pm to debate the options.

There is no doubt that we have a shortage of homes and a shortage of the right type of homes. That applies nationwide, across Shropshire and in Ludlow. The pressure from the government is to build. Housebuilders say we must build – but day-in day-out fail to do build out their planning permissions. That’s very true in Ludlow.

Locally, there is no great case for rushing to approve extra housing Ludlow. There are almost 500 houses with planning permission where developers have yet to dig a single trench for foundations. There are 200 more houses in the pipeline south of Rocks Green. The local plan for Shropshire is being redrafted. It allocates 146 extra homes for Ludlow, over and above those already committed. But should we build more?

There is every case for planning housing well. If we are to build a new suburb east of the bypass – and it may not be complete in my lifetime – we should design it well.

Expansion in Ludlow has been through stick on estates. Areas such as Stanton Road and the Bringewoods lack locally accessible open space. That will apply to Greenacres if the Foldgate Lane development is ever built. Parys Road is a string of quite nice cul de sacs but it doesn’t add up to a well planned neighbourhood.

Many reading this article will say, “No more expansion!” The reality of the country we live in, and the town and county we live in, is that growth is inevitable. We should plan that growth.

My view, and I have held this view long before I became a councillor, is that we should plan a garden suburb east of the bypass. That will involve working units, community spaces, lots of green open areas and around 1,000 homes. Thousands of trees. If we do the planning right, we could have a suburb that we are proud of. It could be on the tourist map. Visitors could say, “Jeeps, I’d really like to live here.”

If “Ludford Garden Suburb” is to serve the needs of our town, it should have at least 25% truly affordable housing.

Regrettably, I don’t think our current planning system in Ludlow, Shropshire and nationally is up to this ambition. We have a regime where we permit anything that meets woolly national planning rules.

We have never had a coherent plan for our town or its expansion. This is not helped by the geopolitics. Most expansion will be in Ludford parish, which wraps around the south and east of the urban area. There is no strategic planning between Ludford parish council and Ludlow town council.

We need to set out where we are going to build in Ludlow and its surrounding parishes right up to 2060. It’s a long timeline. Planning should be a long term process. We need to grasp the nettle now for the future good of our town. We should build the housing that we need and the workplaces that we need. And we should plan for it rather having developments permitted on by planners under pressure to say “yes” or by planning inspectors who have little understanding of where we live.

Join us at the Elim Church on Thursday night, 6.30pm to debate the options.

One thought on “Is it time for another 1,000 homes in Ludlow? The big planning debate is now

  1. The problem with this proposal is that all the development is based in the Ludford parish which at the moment does not provide local services. The result being that Ludford precept would remain low and Ludlow Town council precept would have to increase in ever increasing amounts. I personally think it would foolish to include such numbers in the development plan while Ludlow Town council wouldn’t even be an official consul-tee on the plans.

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