Shropshire Council’s tree team has been reviewing the plans for six terraced homes and a bungalow on the meadow on Castle View Terrace. Using the language of planning, the team says it is “unable to agree that the development as proposed represents sustainable development.” That is a call to planners to insist on changes to the scheme or reject it. The tree team is a consultee. It will be down to planners or the Southern Planning Committee to decide whether the scheme goes ahead or not.
The local community have offered to buy the land from Shropshire Homes. That would be the best way forward for the site rather pursuing a development that no one in Ludlow wants.
This is an opportunistic scheme (20/02971/FUL) put forward by Shropshire Homes, the company that will build the homes on Fishmore Quarry, which lies below the site to the west. The Raglan Mudstone quarry face is soft and prone to rock falls. For that reason, Shropshire Homes is proposing a retention fence on the quarry site. To reduce the potential of slippage and rock falls, the developer has proposed to reprofile the top of the quarry face at its steepest points along the west boundary of the quarry face.
It is this proposal for reprofiling that is causing Shropshire Council’s tree team so much concern. It says this work “will have a drastic impact on the visual amenity of both sites”. Significantly more trees are likely to be removed than originally proposed because of the reprofiling. An incremental loss of trees occurred when the application for Fishmore Quarry evolved from an outline proposal to a details plan. The tree team says this could happen with Castle View Terrace unless “full and binding details and a sustainable layout are gained before determination of the application”.
The successful integration of this development into the landscape depends on the success of the proposed tree planting. But given the extent of site disturbance proposed, the changes in ground conditions and levels and reprofiling of od around 30 cubic metres of the top of the quarry down to bedrock, “the sustainable credentials of this development remain questionable” in the absence of any details on appropriate ground preparation and amelioration of development damage. These details cannot be left until details of the stabilisation of the top of the quarry face are resolved.
And, as tree team points out, those details have not been resolved. What will the profile of the top of the quarry face be?
The arboricultural report submitted with the planning application is invalidated by the proposals for reprofiling which were not included in the original proposals. The extent of the works is not clear and “has potential to further fragment the wildlife corridor without the applicant having demonstrated that sustainable long-term mitigation and compensation is possible”. Unless the number of homes is reduced and the layout modified the proposals are “likely to be to the detriment of the quality of landscape, visual amenity and green infrastructure provision.”
The tree team says, as many objectors have pointed out, the land identified as public open space would have significant access problems because of the proposed slope.
The tree team refuses to support the proposal as it stands and says there should be either a modified layout or binding commitments to mitigate and compensate for the damage to trees, landscape and visual amenity.