Shropshire Council expects to build 28,750 new homes between 2016 and 2036. Of these, 1,175 will be built in Ludlow (including Ludford), Clee and Burford. After existing permissions and site allocations are considered, we are looking at finding space for another 268 homes by 2036.
But there is a caveat to that. If any of the existing permissions and allocations is not built, we will have to find extra sites. Or we could find we have sites imposed on us by the planning inspectorate.
Shropshire council is consulting on where new developments should go across the county as part of its local plan review (see my earlier article). Its plans are ambitious, aiming to build more housing than would be needed for population growth alone. Growth will be unevenly spread across the county, with most in the north and east.
The geography of planning policy is organised using a series of place plans. There are 18 for Shropshire. The Ludlow Place Plan area takes in a wide area around the town.
It is this area that is destined to accommodate 1,175 homes by 2036. This is the lowest of the five principal centres (market towns and hinterland villages) in Shropshire. It is even fewer than the key centre of Shifnal. The allocation for the Ludlow Place Plan area is:
- Ludlow: 1,000 homes (of which Ludford, 497)
- Clee: 75 homes
- Burford: 100 homes.
Much of Ludlow’s future development is destined to fall into Ludford parish. However, Shropshire Council says that housing expansion into Ludford can be subject to “a period of respite for the foreseeable future” because permission has is already in place for 497 dwellings.
Ludlow town will have to find space for 146 additional dwellings. The council says 84 homes could be built on sites to be allocated in the local plan review. Other brownfield sites will need to be brought into use if we are not to see additional expansion onto green fields for the remaining 62 homes.
There are ten approved developments approved or underway in Ludlow and Ludford.
Two new residential sites are proposed in the local plan review. Fishmore Quarry and the former Whittles are allocated for 74 dwellings, 20 fewer than the current planning permissions and applications. Western Power Distribution wants to move out of Sandpits and is looking for a new base. It’s existing site would accommodate 10 dwellings behind the social housing built on the site of the former tax office.
Assuming these developments are built, the Ludlow is 68 homes short of target in the town area. One possible site for further housing is on the lower part of Morris Buftons off Lower Galdeford opposite Smithfield car park. Although, this site has permission for retail use, planning officers have assessed it as suitable for residential development subject to further assessment. The back of envelope calculation is that it would take 41 dwellings. The site on the corner of Temeside and Weeping Cross has been assessed as viable and achievable for an indicative 42 dwellings, though this is currently a protected employment site.
Along with the space for homes, Ludlow and Ludford must find an additional 4 hectares of employment space. SAMDev allocated land south of Sheet Road opposite the Eco Park for employment. The local plan review plans to extend this still undeveloped area to the south and east.
Can these homes be built?
In Ludlow, we have permitted a lot of new homes but few have been built. None of the six big developments have start dates for building. Only one, the Whittles site on Fishmore Road, has full planning permission.
The council says that it is expecting around 60 dwellings a year to be built in and around Ludlow. That sounds optimistic given the track record of 38 a year and we have not seen that level of building in recent years.
The danger is that if planned houses are not built, the planning inspectorate will impose new greenfield housing sites in Ludford on the town. This will lead to unplanned sprawl and less sustainable sites, as we have seen with the two developments at Foldgate Lane and Bromfield Road.
The government is introducing a new housing delivery test. If developers do not build enough homes, the council will be forced to allocate new sites or bring forward later developments.
. Of the 1,000 dwellings for Ludlow, 14 have been built, 840 have planning permission or the sites are allocated in SAMDev and sites for 84 will be allocated in this local plan review. The remaining 62 will be found through windfall developments, including small scale infill, conversions of offices and barns to residential use and rural exception sites for affordable housing.
. The local plan only includes sites of 0.2ha or larger, capable of accommodating five or more dwellings or 500 square metres of floorspace for employment. Smaller sites are considered windfall sites, as are larger sites that come available unexpectedly.
. The announcement of the details of the housing delivery test has been delayed by the government’s Brexit crisis.