Building work starts on Linney House but only for foundations of a garage

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.

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Western Power Distribution gets permission to move to out of town site in Ludford

Shropshire Council planners have given permission for Western Power Distribution (WPD) to move its depot to a new site between the Eco Park and Western Power Distribution’s substation on Squirrel Lane. Vehicle access will be from the Eco Park spine road.

The company has operated from an unsuitable location in The Riddings, Sandpits for decades. Its 1960s depot is set behind a new row of social housing recently built on the site of the former tax office. WPD maintenance trucks must travel along St Margaret Road and Parys Road to leave the depot. Worse, they often travel past Ludlow Infants School when children are arriving or leaving.

Now the company is to move out of town. This is a good move.

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Success after plan to construct housing using haul road along Foldgate Lane is abandoned

Representatives from Ludford parish council and Ludlow Town Council, along with Viv Parry and myself, met with Crest Nicholson on 3 October to discuss temporary construction access to the Foldgate Lane development. The housing developer has planned to create a haul road entered from Foldgate Lane to begin construction on the site. This was opposed by all councillors at the meeting. Now, Crest Nicholson has abandoned that plan. It will instead construct the site from an access from the A49 as set out in the original planning permission. Details of that access are not yet available.

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Planners say plans for eight homes at Linney House are likely to be thrown out because of damage to the natural and historic environment

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.

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Linney House development runs into trouble from heritage, highways, ecology, and a potential threat to otters

It is rare that an application for permission to build houses is straightforward. In Ludlow, it seems that is almost never the case. The application to build eight homes in a modern style in the grounds of Linney House is a case in point. This has been a much abused site over the years with permissions given that would not get through the tougher planning system in place today. Trees on the property have been felled without consent. This application, submitted to Shropshire Council last February, has now hit new stumbling blocks (19/00826/FUL). The scheme was already subject to an energetic complaint from the council’s tree officer. Highways officers said several matters must be resolved before planning permission is granted. Shropshire Council’s ecologists now say they are not happy with the plans. They are demanding more information to be assured that protected species are not damaged. They are concerned about disturbance to otters. The council’s heritage team want the scheme thrown out unless significant improvements are made, including a reduction in the number of houses.

This is tough talk from officers and I am not expecting approval of this scheme anytime soon.

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