Tag: SAMDev

Green fields under threat as Shropshire Council proposes changes that will weaken local planning

We are in the final weeks of getting our local plan SAMDev in place. I am unhappy with proposed changes to wording that, in my view, will encourage development outside settlement boundaries and invite developers to submit greenfield developments. As I type this, a planning inspector is busy scrutinising comments on the final modifications to the local plan for Shropshire known as SAMDev. Her decision on the final wording of this long and tedious document will be vital to the future of this county. If she accepts the final wording proposed by Shropshire Council, it will be much more difficult to defend green fields from development and prevent housing being built beyond settlement limits.

Proposals for 137 homes at Foldgate Lane look set for rejection after officer report

An outline proposal for 137 homes on the edge of Ludlow has generated considerable controversy. There have been 105 objections from members of the public and just one supporting comment. Now, Shropshire planning policy officers say that the plans breach local planning rules. They don’t make any recommendation as to whether the development should be approved or rejected, but given the strength of their comments, approval of the plans now looks unlikely. The plans were first revealed in July 2014 and an outline planning application was submitted that October. Consideration of the plans was delayed in February of this year, after the Highways Agency raised concerns about a proposed T-junction onto the A49. In July, Highways England, which replaced the Highways Agency in April, withdrew its holding objection. This cleared the way for a decision on the scheme. Last week, planning officers produced an analysis of the policy context. They say the site is not proposed as a housing site in SAMDev – the plan that allocates development sites around Ludlow and across the county. The developers, Turley Associates and Richborough Estates, had tried to get the Foldgate Lane site included in SAMDev but the planning inspector did not accept…

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I’d like to tell you that watching a planning public inquiry is fascinating – but my nose would grow out of control. So why did I spend half of last Thursday observing a planning inquiry? I needed to do so because they were discussing SAMDev, the county’s blueprint for housing and employment sites. And specifically the inquiry was discussing development in Ludlow and Ludford (see what the SAMDev plans say about Ludlow).

It’s been a very long day. Shropshire Council’s South Planning Committee met at 2pm this afternoon and finished deliberations just before 7pm this evening. With two solar farms, a riding school for the disabled and clutch of controversial housing schemes up for decision, it was always going to be a long meeting. Around 150 people came to witness the marathon. They were so numerous, they had to come in and out of the committee room in shifts. The biggest contingents of supporters and protesters were for the solar farms at Acton Scott and Whitton. We’d visited both in the morning. Both schemes were later rejected to huge applause (tut, tut, no clapping at planning meetings please!). But the most difficult decision was the application for a riding school for the disabled at Bradley Farm, outside Much Wenlock.

Ludlow has a quota of 875 new homes built under Shropshire Council’s blueprint for housing across the county, SAMDev. Now, property specialist Berrys is claiming the numbers here and elsewhere in Shropshire are only a minimum. The developers Berrys represents are not interested in building more houses than we are planning in Shropshire. There’s no market for huge numbers of homes and the developers don’t have the money to build them. What Berrys’ clients want is to build houses on the sites they own or retain options on.They want to build them regardless of whether these sites meet local needs or are in the local plan.

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