The agenda of the South Planning Committee next week is dominated by three Ludlow schemes for bungalows. They have been called in to committee by Tracey Huffer, who thinks they are sufficiently controversial for decisions to be made by elected representatives rather than officers.
All three schemes are promoted by the Shropshire Housing Group. Two of the schemes, for five social bungalows on Sidney Road and a market bungalow on Poyner Close are particularly controversial. Officers are recommending that all three schemes are approved by the committee.
If you want to speak at the meeting, you need to apply to Linda Jeavons by Friday: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sidney Road (17/01387/FUL)
The plan is for five bungalows, reduced from the original proposal for seven bungalows. This scheme will lead to removal of about half the community open space between Sidney Road and Charlton Rise. All five bungalows will be social housing.
The scheme involves the felling of two Norway Maples. One was felled in October 2016. At the time, Shropshire Housing Group (SHG) said its aim was to mitigate costs to allow its tenancies to remain affordable. However, the date on the original site plans is January 2016 and the bungalow plans were drawn up by September 2016. So, it seems pretty clear that SHG had already formed a view that trees have had to go.
A report has been prepared for the remaining three trees. The comment on Tree 3, which is due to be felled reads:
“Extensive structural fissure to main stem at 1.5m N. Included weak junction to main stem. Minor dead wood. Consider removal. mid-long term safety of tree.”
The tree is rated C1 – “low quality”. This conflicts with the view by Shropshire Council’s tree team who say:
“The trees are in good health and are significant visual features in the area. Existing housing development within the area is of relatively high density and the areas of amenity land that front Sheet Road are dominated by areas of open grass with only a few isolated trees to relieve the otherwise monotonous appearance. As a result, the value of the remaining trees on these amenity areas is elevated.”
The planning officer concludes: “It is considered that the provision of five units of affordable housing together with the proposed compensatory planting would on balance outweigh the retention of the tree.”
Shropshire Council’s highway teams raises concerns about how the tenants, likely to be elderly, will manage their refuse and recycling given the distance from the road. This is apparently being sorted out with SHG but we have yet to see the details.
The council’s footpaths team require Footpath 17 to be diverted or extinguished before the development takes place. That is legally correct but this footpath hasn’t been used since the existing bungalows were built. It goes straight through 8 and 24 Sidney Road!
The planning officer says: “the principle of redevelopment of this site for five affordable dwellings is acceptable.”
There is confusion about whether this land is a town green (otherwise known as a village green). This is a legal designation that protects land from development until town green is lifted (and that’s hard to do). There is no doubt that this land would qualify as a town green but no one has made an application for town green status. An application cannot be made after a planning application has been submitted.
Poyner Close (17/01372/FUL)
This application has been changed from two social housing bungalows to one for sale on the open market. It seems that planning officers were responsible for this. The committee for next Tuesday says:
“This application as originally submitted proposed the erection of a pair of semidetached bungalows, with one property being one bedroomed and the other two bedroomed. Officers considered that the site is too small to accommodate two properties. In response, the applicants have amended the proposal to a single, two bedroomed bungalow. A consequence of this amendment is that while it had been intended that the two dwelling scheme would have been affordable properties, the applicants have advised the amended single property would be an open market dwelling. The reason for this change is that, due to the reduction in number of units, the applicants consider the site is no longer financially viable to develop as an affordable housing scheme.”
This is a home goal on Shropshire Council’s part. We are in desperate need of affordable housing and in even more desperate need of affordable bungalows. I think we can get two properties on this site. (Of course, many people think that there should be no building on this site at all and that is the basis of most of the objections.)
The minimum space requirement for a one bedroom (one/two people) property is 50 square metres. A one person bungalow can be as small as 40 square metres. There is enough room to get a 50 square metre bungalow where the garages are. This would be the same size as the current social bungalows on Poyner Close. Indeed, the two social bungalows proposed originally were 49 sqm and 66 sqm.
The plan is for four bungalows to replace the garages at the end of Rock Lane.
One resident and Ludlow Town Council have objected to this proposal.
. My Ludlow flat is 52 sqm. That’s perfectly adequate for one man and his dog, and there are couples that live in adjacent flats.