Back in November, developers submitted plans for 200 homes at Rocks Green on the outskirts of Ludlow in Ludford parish. The proposal will be considered by the South Planning Committee next Tuesday. The scheme is recommended for approval. I am not expecting the committee to reject it, though it might ask for modifications.
The application is for full permission for 72 homes and outline permission for a further 132 homes. The site is allocated for 200 homes in SAMDev.
There have been modifications since the application was submitted. The layout and design of housing has changed, though I think it would be wrong to describe the scheme as inspirational. The developer has provided information on a roundabout on the A4117 but this will not be built until the second phase. The first phase will have a T-junction on the A road, though the speed limit will be lowered to 30mph at the developer’s cost.
The level of affordable housing in the scheme is low, 12% against the local target of 15%. We are told there will be a higher percentage of affordable homes in the second phase. I will be seeking clarification on how this commitment will be tied down when planning permission is granted.
It is vital that people on the new developments on the outskirts of Ludlow are connected to sustainable transport. The sustainable transport section of the application is very poor and riddled with errors. We are already short of parking in the town and we don’t want more vehicle traffic on the East Hamlet mini-roundabout.
That’s why I concerned about the lack of bus services to the development. I don’t think that walking down to Rocks Green is viable. It is 650 metres from the housing at the south of the first phase to the Rocks Green bus stop via the light controlled planned crossing (and unsafe to cross anywhere else). That’s beyond recommended distances. When the roundabout is installed, the 722 could potentially turn at that location. Eventually, buses on a reconfigured town service will run through the development to Sheet Road and the Eco Park, though that will be some years from now. As the spine road for this eastern suburb will be busy, it would be better to have a coherent plan for buses from the outset.
I am also rather nervous about increasing pedestrian traffic over the A49 at the lights controlled crossing. It has always struck me as a scary place to cross even with the lights.
I have no objection to this development but I would like to see its sustainability improved and firm guarantee on overall affordable housing contributions.
. Mathematically minded readers will note that this adds up to 204 homes, not the 200. Four homes have been added to the first phase but it is not clear whether four homes have been deleted from the second phase.
. Good practice in sustainable transport suggests that 400m is the maximum distance between a housing development and a bus stop. Research suggests that before people start getting in their cars when the distance is greater than 250m. Bus use for people with mobility problems falls off after 200m.
. At present it is not possible to rely on the 2L Kidderminster to Ludlow service. There are no bus stops on the A4117. The other two services mentioned in the transport assessment with the application are school buses and one does not