Defeat! Bitter blow as planning inspector approves five bungalows on Sidney Road green

Since February, a Bristol based planning inspector has been examining an appeal for five independent living bungalows on the green space at the bottom of Sidney Road and Charlton Rise. On Thursday, she announced that the appeal had been allowed and gave the scheme planning permission.

The good news is that the scheme is for five affordable homes. The bad news is it will lead to the loss of a fine Norway Maple and much of an important green space. This decision is final and can only be revoked by the high court.

Although we need affordable homes, we also need to preserve the character of our town. This is an important gateway into Ludlow and we should be trying to improve the aesthetics. This bog standard scheme will not achieve that.

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Plans submitted to create a new bar area in the Feathers Hotel and repaint the shopfront

Crest Hotels have submitted plans to convert the reception area of the Feather Hotel into a bar. This is a sensitive application for listed building consent which will be scrutinised in detail by Shropshire Council conservation officers and the Ludlow Conservation Area Advisory Committee. A related application seeks advertising consent to refurbish the fascia of the former bar area, which is now a tearoom.

The Feathers is a major part of Ludlow’s historic landscape. We can no more do without it than we could do without St Laurence’s Church, the Buttercross, Bodenhams and Ludlow Castle. These are the anchor attractions that bring people into town along with the market, butchers, bakers and so many other traders.

These plans need studying in detail. But they look good on a first reading. It is great to see the Feathers coming back into use and getting the level of investment it deserves.

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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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Final planning application submitted for 67 houses on Fishmore Road quarry

Shropshire Homes has submitted a detailed planning application for 67 dwellings, including four blocks of three-storey apartments on the former quarry site on Fishmore Road (19/02060/REM). This follows outline approval for 74 dwellings on the site granted in February 2019.

The site layout is heavily constrained by the former quarry, its mudstone cliffs and a buried quarry face – which the developer calls the “High Wall”. Because the ground above the High Wall could subject to movement, it will be a car parking area.

This site needs developing and it is good to have plans come forward, especially as many of the homes are small.

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Shropshire Council want to cut planning committees because Tories can’t be bothered to give up one day a month – it’s an attack on democracy

Update 20 May 2019. Shropshire Council has agreed to merge the north and central planning committees from September. Many councillors voted against the move, including – as far as I could see – all members of the South Planning Committee. The south committee is south for now but the executive has made no secret of its desire to progress to a single committee for the entire unitary area.

Original article

The South Planning Committee is safe from the latest Shropshire Council attack on democracy – for now. But council leaders are determined to merge the two committees that cover the Shrewsbury area and North Shropshire into one. The justification is very thin. The paperwork makes it clear that the council’s ambition is a single planning committee for the entire county. They also want to make more decisions behind closed doors rather than in a democratic forum. And part of the justification is that Tory councillors are reluctant to give a day a month to serve on a planning committee. I think it is also to ensure that the Tories have control of all three planning committees.

This is an attack on democracy. Planning one of the most important functions of any council. It is one of the most public facing duties and one where residents are most closely engaged with decision making.

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