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.
This is the second time in the last year that the planning inspectorate in Bristol has decided that it knows better than local planners and residents what is good for our town. It is the second time a planning inspector has ignored our local plan, a document known as SAMDev.
A year ago, a planning inspector approved 215 houses off Bromfield Road. With the 137 homes approved today, the town will get around 1,327 new homes over the planning period (which runs from 2006 to 2026). That is 52% more than this town has ever signed up to.
A small town like this needs to grow gradually. It needs to grow in a way that is planned. It needs to grow in a way that has the support of local people.
This decision means that whenever a developer applies to build housing on the edge of Ludlow, it is likely to get rubber stamped by an official in Bristol.
Approval of these houses looks to me like the death of local planning in the county. It certainly looks like the death of local planning in Ludlow.
We have worked hard to ensure that we get the right development in Ludlow. We have committed to building enough housing to meet our future needs. Our community has been let down by this decision. Our town has been let down by the planning system.
We want a town that thrives. We want a town with the right sort of housing in the right of place. We want a town that is planned by local people, not by planning inspectors who visit our town for just a few hours before deciding.
I have seen some bad planning decisions in my time. This is amongst the worst of them.