A planning inspector has thrown out plans for two large houses on the Linney. But the fight may not be over yet

The plans for two large executive-style homes on the Linney have been thrown out by a planning inspector. This is a precious green space that provides a beautiful view from the Linney towards the Bringewood. It is right that these houses have been rejected. We have no need for more large homes in Ludlow. There are plenty of other places to build and what we need most is smaller homes for young people and families.

This is also an important victory for protection of Ludlow’s conservation area and the town’s historic character.

The saga has been going on since 2014, when plans were submitted for a couple of large houses on the last green space left on the north end of the Linney. After several iterations the developers proposed pushed both houses towards the south of the site in an attempt to preserve the view towards Bringewood (14/04328/FUL). These plans were thrown out by Shropshire Council planners a year ago.

As is so often the case, the developer went to appeal. But the planning inspector appointed to review the decision was having none of it. In deciding to reject the appeal, Susan Ashworth said the houses would cause “harm to the character and appearance of the area and the conservation area.”

The inspector said the site “visually forms a continuous part of the wider countryside beyond it… Accordingly the site appears as part of the countryside and is distinct from the more built-up urban area.”

Ms Ashworth noted that a significant number of houses required under the local plan, SAMDev, have been completed and there is extant planning permission for 640 homes in Ludlow. The developer had tried to argue that the approval of 137 houses at Foldgate Lane and 215 homes off Bromfield Road, both outside the settlement boundary for Ludlow, set a precedent for building on sites not allocated in SAMDev or within the settlement boundary. That argument was rejected and the inspector pointed out that just two houses made no significant contribution to Ludlow’s housing needs, so there was no reason to override local plan policies.

Susan Ashworth was very supportive of protecting the integrity of the Ludlow Conservation Area. She said:

“The Ludlow Conservation Area includes a significant amount of open countryside to the west of the settlement, including the appeal site. That open space is an important part of the character and appearance of the conservation area, significant in terms of the historic relationship of the castle and town to the land which surrounds it, and as a setting to, and affording views of the castle and town centre which are located in an elevated position.”

That is very welcome and will help with defending other planning applications that seek to disrupt the relationship between Ludlow and the forests.

In the latest version of the scheme, the developers had moved both houses to the north side of the site to preserve views. They argued that they would agree to a planning condition to “restrict domestic paraphernalia or cars from the south side of the property.” The inspector said it was unlikely that such a condition was “unconvincing”, so it would be ignored. She declared:

“There would be some loss of view from within the conservation area to the countryside beyond, which currently makes a positive contribution to the heritage asset’s significance. Whilst additional landscaping is proposed to screen the development, I am unconvinced it would sufficiently mitigate against the detrimental impacts of the scheme.”

It’s good this scheme has been dismissed on such strong grounds. But in planning, nothing is ever decided until green space is swallowed up by development or it gets statutory protection. The alternative route is for someone to buy the land and give it to the community. With none of those options looking likely, we can expect a new planning application for this site soon. This is hinted at in the inspector’s decision:

“I note that the appellant has prepared an alternative scheme for consideration by the council. Such a scheme does not form part of this appeal and has no bearing on my decision. Moreover, I can only determine the scheme before me and cannot comment on the merits of an alternative scheme.”

The fight to protect this important view of the Bringewood looks far from over.

2 thoughts on “A planning inspector has thrown out plans for two large houses on the Linney. But the fight may not be over yet

  1. shame Susan Ashworth wasn’t in charge of planning when the plans for the Foldgate Lane plans went in…

  2. You say “someone to buy the land and give it to the community” but unless it’s for sale and at a sensible price then neither an individual nor, say, a crowdfunded initiative can do anything.
    I would love to see this land as a community asset but if it’s not for sale and there are yet more plans in the pipeline despite the recent appeal rejection this will roll for another decade.

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