I opened my first file on this project back in May 2014. Nearly three years later, we have an initial decision after the South Planning Committee agreed by five votes to four to approve the scheme. The scheme can’t yet be approved. There are a few more steps take, including endorsement from the secretary of state for communities.

Secretary of state approval

This is a large out of town supermarket that is being approved contrary to the local plan, which does not allocate this site for a retail complex. That means that the South Planning Committee decision must be approved by central government. Sajid Javid, the secretary of state for communities, may simply sign off the planning committee’s decision. Alternatively, he may decide to call the decision in and hold a planning inquiry before deciding. This is known as a “call in”. It is up to the secretary of state whether to call an application in. Objectors who want a call should contact the planning casework unit, see below. Many also lobby their local MP (dunnep@parliament.uk)

If an inquiry is held, a planning inspector will hear the evidence in public and make a recommendation to the secretary of state. Ministers have the right to take a different opinion to the planning inspectorate and frequently do.

Reserved matters

If Sajid Javid approves the application, it will be subject to a reserved matters application. This will set out the details of the scheme.

Planning officers told the committee that they thought the proposed layout unsuitable. The revised plans “continue to provide a harsh high barrier to the properties on Rocks Green Crescent and the loss of the majority of the landscaping on the A49 and A4117.” However, “officers remain of the opinion that a different layout could be achieved which moves the store and service yard further from the existing dwellings and also retains the existing landscaping along the A49.”

This will be resolved in discussions between Shropshire Council planners and Blackfriars Property Group. The details will then go back to the South Planning Committee for final approval.


Should Sajid Javid reject the application, the only option that Blackfriars will have is to challenge the decision in the high court. A judicial review examines the process, not the decision. If the court decides the planning inspectorate or the secretary of state got the process wrong, the decision is quashed and the inquiry restarted.

Calling in a planning application

Call in requests should go to the National Planning Casework Unit as soon as possible. NPCU, 5 St Philips Place, Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2PW. 0303 444 8050.  npcu@communities.gsi.gov.uk.

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing on calling in a planning application.

8 thought on “The Rocks Green supermarket is not approved yet”
  1. Just wondering, What influence did the letter regarding possible placement of a covenant on the land have on the committee?

      1. In your post of the 7th Feb., you referenced a letter sent by Indigo to Karen Townsend of SC, suggesting a condition could be placed on the site to prevent certain retailers from occupying it.
        You took it to mean that Tesco and Aldi would not “be allowed” to occupy it, I asked a question regarding this letter on your original post.

  2. There are loads of supermarkets to choose from. Pick the most suitable for the area

    Budgens? in the centre of town. I mentioned ASDA living etc. Here in Otley we have The Original Factory Shop and Yorkshire Trading They sell clothing food and small household goods etc. These may be more suitable for Ludlow centre.

  3. Hi Andy,

    When requesting a call in do you just state your reasons for objecting to the supermarket and therefore why you think there should be a call in?

    Many thanks,


  4. @Helen, the reason(s) for requesting a call-in by Sec of State should be identified in correspondence. Choosing one of more criterion from the “Caborn Principles” :-

    • may conflict with national policies on important matters;
    • [may have significant long-term impact on economic growth and meeting housing needs across a wider area than a single local authority];
    • could have significant effects beyond their immediate locality;
    • give rise to substantial cross-boundary or national controversy;
    • raise significant architectural and urban design issues; or
    • may involve the interests of national security or of foreign Governments.

    [See BRIEFING PAPER; Calling-in planning applications By Louise Smith; Number 00930, 11 July 2016; http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN00930/SN00930.pdf ]

    Can’t really see any of above criteria being justified in this case.

    Maybe one could try arguing that the site is (just) outside the development boundary defined in the SAMDev policy map for Ludlow. And therefore the plans “conflict with national policies on important matters”.

    But that development boundary (defined by the A49) is arbitrary anyway, and has been breached many times already.

    And with neighbouring land (LUD017) immediately east of the Nelson Inn earmarked for 300 new homes – with those housing plans supported by local councillors – this argument is likely to flounder, too.

    “Calling-in” cannot now be used to reverse the outline planning permission which has been granted already. That approval can only be overruled by Judicial Review. And the likelihood of proving that there was a grave ‘error in law’ in the decision-making – AND in getting a high court judge to reverse that permission for the supermarket and filling station – must be close to zero. The developer would demand – and would probably be awarded – huge damages.

    This request for a call-in can only be made when the full planning application is lodged. But it is likely to fail too. There were just 21 call-ins between 2010 and 2013 across the whole UK. In the scheme of things, this one in Ludlow is not very important. Nor even very contentious.

    The one thing a successful call-in would do is remove any future decision-making from the hands of the local planning authority. Granting those powers instead to the Sec.of.State, with no local input in the planning process. Is that what people really want?

  5. I think you are being too negative Clare. Points 1 and 3 of Caborn apply. If people don’t like this scheme, I can’t see any harm in applying to the case work unit. You will always be defeated if you don’t try.

  6. It’s a done deal . Will you ever admit defeat Mr Boddington ? Or will you battle all the way to the House of Lords..

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