Why a planning inspector approved housing at Foldgate Lane – and why he was wrong to do so

This is a detailed examination of the inspector’s decision. I can’t pretend that it is exhaustive but I hope it shows why this decision is one of the worst I have seen for a long while.

Last Thursday, an inspector from the Bristol-based planning inspectorate, approved plans for 137 homes on Foldgate Lane. This article examines in detail Cullum Parker’s appeal decision.

I have read a lot of planning appeal decisions over the years and this one perplexes me more than many others. I don’t think it makes sense, even under the planning regime we have been working under since 2012.[1] Planning rules say decisions must be made in accordance with the local development plan, in our case the core strategy and SAMDev. Only if there are strong reasons, material considerations in planning jargon, can the plan be overruled. But Mr Parker barely acknowledged our local plan. He didn’t even mention the policy for Ludlow.

That’s why his decision is flawed.

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Foldgate Lane housing has been approved on appeal – it’s the worst of planning decisions

Today the planning inspectorate announced that it has given approval to controversial plans to build 137 houses off Foldgate Lane.

I am knocked breathless by this decision. The inspector has shown total disregard for our local plans. He says that we are building enough housing and have allocated enough sites for development. Yet he thinks that we need another 137 houses stuck on the edge of Ludlow.

This is dangerous decision.

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Foldgate Lane housing inquiry ends on a cliff hanger

Update 9 October 2016

The planning inspectorate has said a decision will be made on or before 21 November.

I am glad that decision is not going to be dragged out. This appeal is not just about 137 houses on the edge of Ludlow. The whole future of planning in Shropshire depends on this decision. Are developers like Richborough going to be allowed to build anywhere they like, regardless of local wishes and our local plan? We need to win this appeal. I think the council has made a good case. But the final decision will be down to the planning inspector.

Main article 6 October 2016

The Foldgate Lane inquiry has concluded. Developer Richborough Estates wants to build 137 homes on green fields on the edge of Ludlow. A quarter of the homes will be affordable. When the inquiry closed yesterday afternoon, the result was too close to call. Shropshire Council put forward a strong case but Richborough put forward a strong team. As its barrister reminded us yesterday, the company has a reputation for winning nearly all of its planning appeals.

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Foldgate Lane housing inquiry to resume – it’s a battle for Shropshire as well as Ludlow

The public inquiry into 137 homes off Foldgate Lane in Ludlow resumes at 9.30am on Tuesday, 4 October at the Gateway, Craven Arms. We face two days of technical arguments over housing land supply followed by a summing up of the arguments for and against this development.

The future of planned development in Shropshire rests on the outcome of this inquiry.

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Foldgate Lane housing inquiry adjourned – it’s been a toughie and we can’t afford to lose

Nearly one hundred residents turned out on Tuesday for the first day of the planning inquiry into proposals from property speculator Richborough Estates for 137 houses off Foldgate Lane. This is a greenfield site. It is not allocated in our local plan. The location is unsustainable and the development will damage setting of our historic town. The turnout was a strong public statement that we all feel that this proposal is wrong for Ludlow.

There is more at stake at this inquiry than the beauty and tranquility of Foldgate Lane. The inquiry is not just about preserving views. It does not only concern the damage the development would do to the setting of historic buildings and the conservation area, or the impact the development will have on traffic and flooding.

Ludlow is caught up in something much bigger.

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