Ring the bells. Bang the drums. March the bands. The green space at the bottom of Charlton Rise has been saved! Social housing provider Connexus has told Ludlow Town Council that it will not proceed with its proposal for five bungalows on the green space on Sidney Road at the bottom of Charlton Rise. We must now move to protect this green space and its trees in perpetuity by getting it declared a town green. We should also plant a Norway Maple to replace the one that was felled three years ago.
I was not expecting this. South Shropshire Housing Group and its successor Connexus had ruthlessly driven through the application for five bungalows on the much loved green at the bottom of Charlton Rise. The housing association had felled one tree, planned to fell another, and take up half the green with bungalows.
But Connexus has had a change in attitude. We heard this at Ludlow Town Council last night. Driving schemes through against the wishes of the community is no longer on the agenda of this housing association. The officers from the housing group said they needed to hear local views to make a reasonably informed decision about whether they should take this development forward or not.
That’s a change of tune and it’s very welcome. We are a long way from halting the unwanted development but just when we thought there was no hope at all of saving this community green space, we have renewed hope.
Since February, a Bristol based planning inspector has been examining an appeal for five independent living bungalows on the green space at the bottom of Sidney Road and Charlton Rise. On Thursday, she announced that the appeal had been allowed and gave the scheme planning permission.
The good news is that the scheme is for five affordable homes. The bad news is it will lead to the loss of a fine Norway Maple and much of an important green space. This decision is final and can only be revoked by the high court.
Although we need affordable homes, we also need to preserve the character of our town. This is an important gateway into Ludlow and we should be trying to improve the aesthetics. This bog standard scheme will not achieve that.
Housing group Connexus is appealing against the South Planning Committee’s rejection of its plans for five bungalows on the green at the bottom of Charlton Rise. The committee refused the scheme twice. In its evidence to the planning inspectorate, council planners revealed that they were divided on whether the scheme should be recommended for approval. One officer wrote a dissenting report which said that the scheme should be refused because of the loss of the Norway Maple, the reduction in open space and poor design.
The South Planning Committee had no knowledge of this report when it rejected the application for the second time. But it said the plans must be refused because of the loss of the Norway Maple, the reduction in open space and poor design.
This was always going to come. Connexus is the mega housing association that has absorbed South Shropshire Housing Association. It has now appealed against Shropshire Council’s refusal of plans for five bungalows on the green space at the bottom of Charlton Rise.
This is an important amenity area but it has no protection as a green space. The Norway Maple is covered a tree protection order but that will be lifted if planning permission is given and the tree will be felled. The South Planning Committee twice rejected the planning application.
The appeal will be conducted by letters – email usually. We need to get our objections in by 14 March. I provide guidance on how to do that below.