In my article on the decision to approve 215 homes off Bromfield Road last night, I said that I would be asking a question at the full Shropshire Council meeting on 17 December. This morning, the head of legal and democratic services said my question could not go to council. It should be answered by officers, not the planning portfolio holder. I now have a reply from the head of planning, Ian Kilby. He does not agree with my analysis that the approval of Bromfield Meadow blows apart our local plan, SAMDev. Here is what Ian said:
Shropshire Council did not defend SAMDev specifically at this appeal, because conflict with policy was not a reason for refusal, and consequently we were not given an opportunity to give evidence on this matter. Nevertheless, the relevant and most up-to-date information was put before the inspector for his consideration. Continue reading “Shropshire Council planners have responded to my article “Local planning is dead in Shropshire””
I have long believed that the Bromfield Meadows housing scheme by Tesni homes would be approved. It seemed obvious from the moment the planning inspector opened the public inquiry into the plans that he would push the scheme through. That has proved to be the case.
In allowing the developer’s appeal against refusal of planning permission, the inspector said:
“[The scheme] would amount to a logical extension to the town and is to be regarded as sustainable development. Although controversial… the pedestrian and cycle accessibility of the appeal development would be further enhanced by the proposed Fishmore View bridge.”
Continue reading “Local planning is dead in Shropshire after 215 houses and controversial footbridge are approved in Ludlow”
My annoyance could not be hidden in my closing remarks to the public inquiry. The planning inspector was getting a bit annoyed with me too.
I had really had enough by then. The developer, Tesni, has been heavy handed in pursuing this development from day one. Their public consultation was minimal, limited to a letter drop of nearby houses and an online consultation that few people knew about.
They had insisted on an adversarial public inquiry not an inquisitorial hearing. An inquiry is much like a court case with barristers concentrating as much on legal rules to stop arguments being made as presenting a case for or against a development. A hearing is a round table discussion, tightly controlled but less concerned with rules than discovering the merits or otherwise of a development.
The inquiry was held, appropriately, in the Ludlow Room in Shirehall. To my left was the Tesni team – a planning barrister flanked by Tesni’s agent and transport consultant. To my right, two council planning officers. I had a desk of my own as a Rule 6 party – a legal status I had taken on to ensure my arguments were fully heard. I faced the inspector at the head of the room.
Behind me was the public gallery, occupied by Councillors Glen Ginger and Colin Sheward – they spoke well. Beside them was a reporter from the Shropshire Star and two of the Tesni team. Also – and this was a surprise – John Acre from Turley Associates and Michael Jones from Richborough Estates. They are the promoters of the Foldgate Lane development that was thrown out by council planners in September. Continue reading “The Bromfield Meadows housing inquiry – tough, tedious and at times temperamental”
Plans for around twenty secure over-55s bungalows at Elm Lodge off Fishmore Road have been rejected for a second time. The decision is correct in planning terms but once again points out that local planning in this town is potentially on the brink of descending into anarchy.
Shropshire’s chief planner Ian Kilby refused the plans because the site lies outside the defined development boundary for Ludlow in both the existing local plan and its replacement, SAMDev, which will be adopted shortly. This means the site lies in open countryside where housing development is not permitted except under a very limited set of circumstances, for example affordable housing. Mr Kilby also said the council had a five-year land supply for housing. This is an important consideration in deciding applications. If there is not a five-year land supply, national planning rules allow development to be built where local plans forbid it. Continue reading “If at first you don’t succeed try and fail again – Elm Lodge housing rejected for a second time”
Mostly I am looking forward to tomorrow. The whole day is allocated for a public inquiry into plans for 215 houses above the river Corve between Bromfield Road and the A49. But, unusually for me, there is a touch of nervousness too.
The reason I am looking forward to the event is that it will all but bring to a conclusion the long and complex debate over the plans for Bromfield Meadow. They have been thrown out by the South Planning Committee not once, but twice. The committee said the development was unsustainable and the benefits of new housing would be outweighed by the adverse impacts. The committee decided: Continue reading “It is dénouement for the plans for 215 houses off Bromfield Road tomorrow”