Foldgate Farm housing application runs into trouble over heritage, ecology and trees

Shropshire Council’s conservation team have called for a redesign of the development of five detached dwellings in the orchard of Foldgate Farm on Foldgate Lane because the applicants have not followed advice given before the application was submitted (19/01940/FUL). Ecologists at the council have called for the scheme to be rejected for failing to meet local and national policy requirements. The council’s tree team have called for the scheme to be rejected or revised because it ignores pre-application advice and does not comply with local and national policies.

That is a hefty set of criticisms. The plans will need to be revised or face a risk of rejection. We are already seeing extensive destruction of a biodiverse landscape along the A49 with the Crest Nicholson development. More trees will be planted to compensate but they will not become a biodiverse environment for a couple of decades. If this development is to go ahead, it must reduce its impact on heritage and the environment.

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New housing application for Foldgate Lane – it’s going to be controversial

Crest Nicholson has planning permission for 137 homes in Ludford parish off Foldgate Lane. This was controversial at every point but was approved by a planning inspector who had spent a few days in the area. That’s history. The housing is set to be built. Now plans have been submitted from the owners of the Grade II listed Foldgate Farm for a further five homes in their orchard. Impact on heritage, site access and the impact on the orchard are likely to be the biggest issues.

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New plans submitted for T-Junction on A49 for Foldgate Lane housing development

Crest Nicholson has submitted a planning application to create an access from the A49 to the proposed development of 137 homes at Foldgate Lane. To meet national road safety guidelines, the A49 must be widened by 1.7 metres to accommodate a ghost island for traffic turning right into the development. An extensive visibility splay is needed for traffic leaving the site.

The main casualty of this is more than 100 young-mature and semi-mature trees. There is a plan in place for replacement trees but these will take some time to mature, during which time at least a dozen homes will suffer undesirable traffic noise and air pollution.

Any tree removal is likely to be controversial in the current febrile debate about the growing practice of hedge netting. If this development is to go ahead, and many people wish it would not, it seems there is no other option other than removal of the trees. But that must not happen until the nesting season ends.

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Petition against hedge netting passes 200,000 signatures. Ludlow protest planned. RSPB takes tough stance against netting. Please write to your MP

Last night, the petition against the growing practice of netting hedges and trees to prevent birds nesting passed 200,000 signatures. It is still growing.

Campaigners are to meet to protest against the hedge netting at Rocks Green at 11am on Sunday 14 April, SY8 2DS. More than 6,000 people have joined the Facebook group, Nesting not Netting!

Ecologists and the RSPB have issued a new statement advising against netting and, should it be deemed necessary, for inspections every three hours.

I have written to Ludlow’s MP Philip Dunne asking him to act and attend the forthcoming debate in parliament.

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We live in an growing biodiversity desert – Rocks Green developers are making it worse with hedge netting that traps birds (updated)

Over the last couple of weeks, green netting has been put over hedgerows at Rocks Green. The aim is to prevent birds nesting. It will not work. Hedge nesting birds will get through the gaps in the netting with ease. When I visited yesterday morning, I could hear birds within the netted hedgerow. I could not see any nests but I would be surprised if there were none. This is in breach of planning documents submitted by the developer that says hedges will not be removed during the nesting season. But that is exactly what they are planning.  

We live in a town that is biodiversity poor. Many of the fields around Ludlow resemble east of England prairies.

We have some biodiversity havens around Ludlow. The Teme SSSI. There are biodiverse rich broadleaf areas across the Mortimer Forest including the Whitcliffe. That’s despite the intensive conifer plantations in the main forest area. But south of Ludford village, the landscape resembles an East England prairie. It’s not better across much of the Plymouth Estate from Dinham Bridge to Bromfield. East of the A49 bypass, Ludford is biodiversity poor.

That’s why we must make every stride we can to protect birds – and hedgehogs.

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