Shropshire Council’s South Planning Committee this afternoon almost unanimously rejected an application for up to 215 homes off Bromfield Road, Ludlow. One member voted in favour.

I did not have a vote under Shropshire Council’s rules as the proposal is in my division.

The committee visited the site in the morning. On the previous visit, members were not allowed to cross the railway line, but this time we had a convoy of vehicles and three Network Rail staff to escort us across the line. Footpaths cross the line throughout the area. Hundreds of people cross this line every day. But as this was not a footpath we needed to play by different rules. So thanks to Network Rail for making our visit happen.

planning committee convoy 1000South Planning Committee members prepare to cross the railway

When members got onto the site, they said they were concerned about access to the housing from the A49. They didn’t like the controversial footbridge over the river Corve to Fishmore View. Some were not satisfied that issues of potential flooding caused by water running off roads and roofs had been resolved. Many thought the site would be excessively noisy given it straddles the railway and butts up against the A49. There was also the view the site was dangerous for children given its proximity to a major road, railway line and a temperamental river.

Prior to this afternoon’s committee meeting, the developer agreed to an “informative condition” if outline planning application was granted.

The applicant will use all reasonably practicable and viable measures to maximise the potential to minimise the rate of surface water discharge to below existing run-off rate.

I negotiated this because it provides us with a reassurance on runoff over and above that normally secured in the conditions attached to planning consents. Also, once we have secured this “extra mile” agreement on water discharge on one site, we can push for it on other developments. I remained resolutely opposed to the footbridge across the Corve to Fishmore View and the developer had offered to withdraw this part of the plans.

Despite the developer having resolved flooding issues to my satisfaction, I am not at all surprised that councillors threw out this housing application. It is less than ideal in many respects. Members were also very concerned that the site is not allocated for housing or any development at all in the SAMDev planning blueprint.

I am sure the developer will appeal to the planning inspectorate, so we could still get housing on this site in the very near future.

There are plans for more than 500 new houses in Ludlow at the moment. SAMDev will bring 200 more. I am concerned that local services will come under huge strain. We don’t have enough medical, dental or even town centre car parking spaces to cope. I am also concerned that less than a hundred of these houses are destined to be affordable.

Ludlow is destined to become an unplanned town and the quality of life here could take a nosedive.

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