Update 11 September: 152 objections have now been lodged.

There are nearly always objections to housing development. Sometimes they are not well founded. People don’t like change or do not want any more housing in their locality. The planning application for seven homes on Castle View Terrace is different. At the time of writing, Sunday 6 September, Shropshire Council had received 77 carefully reasoned objections. I can’t recall so many objections for a small housing scheme.

There are no expressions of support for the scheme. That is not a surprise. As the objectors make clear, the development is out of character with the area. It destroys a valuable green space in an area of town that lacks green spaces. And we don’t need the housing. We have hundreds of homes approved but unbuilt. Shropshire Homes, the Castle View Terrace developer, has 157 homes approved on Fishmore Quarry and Sheet Road. It should get on with building those and abandon this scheme which will destroy a much valued meadow.

There is still time to comment on this scheme (20/02971/FUL).

Objections up to 8.00am, 6 September 2020

I have been impressed by the quality of the comments. Too often in planning applications, objectors follow a template provided by campaign organisers. Objections read much the same. That’s not the case with Castle View Terrace. The objections are individual and carefully thought through. Together they make a considered case for rejected this housing proposal. I don’t think I can do them full justice in this article but here is a flavour of what people are saying.

Unsurprisingly, most comments explicitly object to the loss of open space (64 of 77 objectors). Several comments refer to the importance of open space for mental health. Nine comments point out the important role that open space has played for wellbeing during the Covid-19 epidemic.

“I cannot believe that this pastureland is in danger of being lost to urban development, and the view spoiled, so that a few modern houses can be squeezed on to a lovely Victorian terrace. This is philistinism and Ludlow will be the poorer for it.”

“To permanently change this beloved local landscape… would be a real disappointment to the many people whose days are made a little better by this field. Whether it is from the view, the charming location, the sense of peace and serenity the field provides or being able to enjoy simply watching nature use this green space.”

“The proposed development would be a wonton destruction of a last-remaining meadow that provides for wildlife and human contentment.”

Many objectors complain about the damage to biodiversity (31).

“Three hawthorn trees will be removed, and whilst there will be new trees planted, they will not sustain the wildlife that these trees do. The trees have been there for over 100 years and provide valuable blossom for pollinators in the spring and fruit for birds in the winter.”

“It is known to support many species of wildlife and the residents have noted red kites, hedgehogs, newts, slow worms, barn owls and other protected creatures including a Peregrine Falcon.”

“It is not just humans that gain from the field, but a wide assortment of wildlife. The old hawthorn trees to the west of the proposed site (destined to be removed) are over 100 years old and offer food and shelter to birds, insects and mammals. Buzzards and Red Kite regularly hunt over the fields; bats are often seen flying over it in the evening, and the field itself is a wildlife corridor for many species, with recent sightings of hedgehogs, slow worms, frogs and newts.

A strip of land above the quarry face will be designated at public open space but, if the development proceeds, it is not clear how that will be accessed or even whether public access would be desirable as the developers describe it wildlife corridor. The meadow is regarded as a community asset (21).

“Many generations have enjoyed the meadow. I urge you not to take that away from our future generations.”

“Those who do not live in Ludlow… are probably oblivious to the joy this land has given to so many over the years and how now it gives a feeling of calm as you gaze over the wall looking at the landscape in which Ludlow is set… It is not just a green field with a price tag attached to it; it is a hugely important piece of amenity land that is of immense value to many who live… here.”

“To lose a valuable amenity of the purpose of providing a car park for 26 cars is ridiculous.”

The meadow and its Victorian brick wall are regarded as a non-designated heritage asset (17), along with Castle View Terrace itself. Objectors assert that, nothwithstanding the developer’s statements, the proposed housing is not in keeping with the character of the terrace (30).

“The meadow is an integral part of the streets character and was even more so whilst the sheep were still allowed to graze on the meadow… I would suggest that this site forms part of a non-designated heritage asset.”

“The houses in Castle View Terrace, built in the late 1870s, are gracious examples of the domestic architecture of that era; I would argue that the new houses would be in no way complementary to the ‘existing style and form’ [of the Terrace].”

“The land in question is the last remaining part of Ludlow’s medieval Little Field. This was one of the communal fields, of which precious little remains, that were worked in strips by the town’s burgesses. Its function can still be seen in traces of the ‘ridge and furrow’ ploughing scheme that reflected the ways the strips were allocated. The proposed development would obliterate these traces. The houses of Castle View Terrace also embody part of the town’s history. Their stylistic development from the mid to late nineteenth century tells of the evolution of domestic architecture; the way in which a small builder carried out his business, using the proceeds from one pair of houses to pay for the building of the next and the use of local materials, all contribute to an illustrative development of the town following the arrival of the railway.”

“The proposed estate of mean and ugly houses would be an insensitive and callous intrusion, totally out of keeping with the elegant Victorian and Edwardian houses which line the eastern side of the narrow access cul de sac.”

“There are very few people who’d consider these Shifnal-style terraced houses, with their high roof lines, small windows and minimal garden plots as in any way complementary to the ‘existing style and form’; they are indeed unsympathetic to the design of the Victorian villas, and very much out of character.”

The view from Castle View Terrace across the meadow towards the forest and the castle is important (13).

“I cannot believe that this pastureland is in danger of being lost to urban development, and the view spoiled, so that a few modern houses can be squeezed on to a lovely Victorian terrace. This is philistinism and Ludlow will be the poorer for it.”

“An unnecessary land grab by a developer set on destroying a beautiful and historic piece of green belt with iconic views of Ludlow Castle, the Mortimer Forest and Welsh Marches and enjoyed by residents of Ludlow, young and old, as well as visitors for generations.”

People are concerned about climate change and the potential contribution of the proposed development to flooding (17). The houses are not aligned for solar gain and there are no proposals for solar panels or greywater harvesting.

“Planning applications should be looked at holistically, with potential flooding considered as a major concern. The recent severe floods in and around Ludlow have not been adequately ‘costed’ in human terms. Financial costs re repairs and insurance are considerable, but the disruption to the economy and the stress, despair and mental health problems inflicted on occupants are severe and long-lasting. Residents have to dispose of ruined furniture, carpets and appliances, and councils have to re-house residents, often for several months.”

Many residents of Castle View Terrace are concerned about the loss of parking spaces. They do not accept the argument that the off road parking offered by the developer will make up for the loss of parking spaces alongside the historic brick wall (12).

“The planning application offers a limited number of parking spaces to current residents of Castle View Terrace. While this might be better than nothing, it is not clear that there would be a net gain in parking space, in view of the loss on the west side due to modification of the existing road layout.”

There is wider concern about extra traffic, both during construction (7) and once the seven homes are occupied (44). Access to and from New Road is narrow and blind.

“Access and egress in Castle View Terrace is hard enough as it is. The entrance to the terrace from New Road is virtually blind for cars entering from both directions”

Commenting on the application

There is still time to comment on the application (20/02971/FUL). Although the neighbourhood consultation period ends on Monday 7 September, comments will be considered up to the time the officer’s report is written. If the application is determined by the planning committee, comments will be taken up until the day before the committee meets. This allows objectors to comment on the officer’s report. People can comment more than once if there is updated information, including new specialist reports or any updates from the developer. Please only comment again if you have additional points to make.

Save the Meadow website.

The existing style and form compared with the proposed housing styles

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