If at first you don’t succeed try and fail again – Elm Lodge housing rejected for a second time

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”

Bromfield solar farm approved after zero objections – is that unique?

I can’t recall a case across England where this has occurred before. The Bromfield solar farm has been approved without a single protest or objection. We have recently seen lively and well organised protests against solar farms at Whitton, Henley Hall, Neen Sollars, Acton Scott and Sheriffhales. Although the latter two had a good measure of local support, they also faced strong opposition.

It was different with the Bromfield solar farm. Save South Shropshire Countryside, which was established to oppose solar farms in the countryside, said it had no objection. The Campaign to Protect Rural England and others supported the scheme. There was not a single objection.

When this 5MW, 9.2 hectare scheme was first proposed in May 2014, I asked a number of questions. The promoter of the scheme listened carefully, made modifications and produced a sensible planning application that I could fully back. Continue reading “Bromfield solar farm approved after zero objections – is that unique?”

Plans resubmitted for 20 retirement dwellings at Elm Lodge, Ludlow

Last November, Shropshire planning officers rejected outline plans for 20 retirement dwellings on the goods yard at Elm Lodge, Fishmore Road (14/00884/OUT). Now, the unchanged plans have been resubmitted with the applicants hoping for approval this time (15/01027/OUT).

The scheme

This is an outline application so we don’t know the full details of the development. The application is only to establish the principle of a retirement settlement on this site and the road access. If the application is successful, a full application will determine the details of the scheme. Continue reading “Plans resubmitted for 20 retirement dwellings at Elm Lodge, Ludlow”

Plans submitted for solar farm at Bromfield, Ludlow – I’m supporting the scheme

One of the real problems with solar farms in my book, windfarms too, is that they don’t supply power locally but plug into the national grid. That destroys the link between locality and renewable energy. That’s one reason why a solar farm proposed at Acton Scott was thrown out by the South Planning Committee earlier this week. It didn’t supply electricity locally, so why did it need to be in the AONB where the landscape has the highest levels of protection?

What I like about the proposal for a solar farm at Bromfield is that up to a quarter of its power will be used in the local quarry and the Ludlow Food Centre. It is also on old quarry land and on a site that can only be seen from the railway. It’s not in the AONB or visible from it. That’s why I am backing this proposal while I was resolutely against the plans for a solar farm at Acton Scott. Continue reading “Plans submitted for solar farm at Bromfield, Ludlow – I’m supporting the scheme”

Taking a long term view on planning in Ludlow – the potential housing sites

You will not have seen this plan of Ludlow before. I’ve put it together out of two very different planning documents. Much of this housing development is not due to happen soon and some may never happen, except you can’t ever say never in planning.

Ludlow_SHLAA_site_map_for_blog

The two documents I have used are SAMDev, which allocates development sites to 2026, and the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), which assesses sites with potential for development for homes. More details of the Ludlow area sites are in this document: Ludlow development sites identified in SAMDev and SHLAA.

The crucial difference between SAMDev and SHLAA is that SAMDev allocates agreed sites for development. The SHLAA is lists sites that Shropshire Council has assessed as suitable for development, both for SAMDev and for the longer term. ‘Longer term’ in this context means after 2026 when SAMDev ends, but sites could be brought forward if the council struggles to maintain a five year land supply.

Controlling development is increasingly difficult under the government’s five year land supply rules. That’s one reason why we need a neighbourhood plan for Ludlow and the surrounding parishes.

The core strategy local plan is set to be reviewed in 2016. At that point, the plan will be extended to cover development up to 2036. We might see at least some of these sites included during that review.