“It’s frustrating but there is not much we can do about it.” That’s the message from Tracey Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East after an essential road safety scheme outside Ludlow Primary School on Sandpits Road was been delayed by several months. The delay is likely to last several months but there is some good news.
At the end of October, I wrote about a planning application from Ludlow Aldi. On Sundays and bank holidays, it is permitted deliveries for six hours from 8am and 4pm. It wants these hours more than doubled to allow deliveries between 7am to 10pm. What the planning application doesn’t say is that Aldi is already receiving deliveries in Ludlow at 7am on Sundays in a flagrant breach of its current permission.
Aldi is a multinational. This is not the first time it has broken planning rules. Clearly it doesn’t care domestic matters such as the law of the United Kingdom. That’s a shame because the Ludlow Aldi is a good store with hard working and cheerful staff. They, and the residents of Ludlow, are being let down by a supermarket giant that clearly only cares about its own convenience and profit margins when it comes to delivery times.
The world of planning is often bizarre. That’s the case with Linney House where a series of applications for houses in the grounds have met objections from residents and planners. But the developer, Linney House Developments, did gain planning permission in 2014 and 2017. Planning law says that developers must start work within three years on planning permission being granted. The current planning application for eight homes on the site has run into trouble with strong objections from Shropshire Council’s planning team.
Yesterday, contractors moved onto the site to begin work. Alerted by concerned residents, I went to the site to check up on what was happening. Heras fencing is being erected, undergrowth cleared and foundations dug for a garage. That’s enough to stop the 2017 permission for three large houses expiring. Although work has started, there is no current intention of building this scheme. As I said, the world of planning is often bizarre.
I asked if the site could be sold and turned into a nature reserve. Answer, no.
In March, a new proposal was submitted to build eight homes of modern design in the grounds of Linney House. Now Shropshire Council’s planning officers have said the plans contravene planning policy and are likely to be refused. A letter sent to the site developer eight days ago is a lengthy 14 pages. But the message it conveys is clear. The environmental damage and harm to the Ludlow Conservation Area from the proposed scheme would be unacceptable. At most, three houses can be accommodated on the site and there is already permission for this. Shropshire Council is likely to reject the current application to increase the number of houses to eight.
The planners’ letter does not mark the end of this seven-year attempt to build in woodland in the garden of the Grade II listed Linney House. The developer must decide whether to withdraw the current application or press ahead regardless. If the plans are turned down, he might appeal to the planning inspectorate. He would also be within his rights to go to planning inspectorate for a decision without waiting for a formal decision from the council. Or he might opt to build the scheme for three large houses approved in 2014 and 2017.
Aldi wants greater flexibility in delivery hours. On Sundays and bank holidays, it is permitted deliveries for six hours from 8am and 4pm. It wants these hours more than doubled to allow deliveries between 7am to 10pm. The application comes with a detailed noise assessment for the store area but this takes no account of noise created as delivery vehicles arrive and depart along Gravel Hill and Henley Road. I don’t think residents should be disturbed by 7am deliveries on Sundays when the store doesn’t open until 10am. Aldi is seeking to extend delivery hours at several of its stores. But Tesco’s delivery hours in Ludlow on Sundays and bank holidays have been 9am to 4pm since 2013. If Tesco can thrive with those hours, so can Aldi.
There has been a suggestion that Aldi and Tesco use a different route for deliveries into Ludlow rather than along Gravel Hill. I would welcome views on that.