The new application for three houses at Linney House is proving somewhat troubled (17/00230/FUL). Both the Environment Agency and Shropshire Council’s tree service have objected. They join local objectors, the town council and myself. The tree officer said the application is “retrograde” and is not sustainable. It is also outside the Ludlow’s development boundary as defined in the local plan, SAMDev.

The Environment Agency has objected to the scheme, saying it partly lies in the flood zone. The agency says the sequential test must be applied. This test asks whether there are alternative sites outside the flood plain that could be used for housing. Should the test be satisfied, a new flood risk assessment must be completed.

Shropshire Council’s tree officer has recommended the scheme be refused. The original scheme has been modified several times after initial approval, including to achieve:

“An acceptable landscape proposal to compensate for trees lost to accommodate the dwellings but also trees lost through a large area of un-approved felling and a large area of woodland to be lost to accommodate a flood compensation scheme.”

The tree officer complains “this new application represents a retrograde step back” and questions whether some of the plans may have been submitted in error.

“Our concern is that this application with its retrograde landscape proposals and lack of detail would not secure for the local community the same tree protection, landscape, conservation and habitat provisions as have been secured through the extant discharge of conditions applications. Failure to secure the same outcomes with this new application would be to the detriment of the character and amenity of the Conservation Area and local green infrastructure and Environmental Network.”

Shropshire Council is considering placing tree protection orders on the remaining significant trees.

This has always been a controversial development. It was approved before SAMDev, when national planning rules dominated. The site is outside the development boundary. It is partly in the floodplain. Already, several valuable trees have been felled, some without the required permission from Shropshire Council. Now, the new application is shown to be deeply flawed.

Should officers be minded to approve this application, and I doubt they can in its current form, I have asked for this application to be decided by the South Planning Committee.

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