Crest Nicholson has submitted detailed plans for development of Phase 5 of the Foldgate Lane scheme (21/05961/FUL). This is the housing area nearest the retail park. Forty-two homes will be built, of which eleven will be affordable. Four of the homes will be bungalows.
The total number of houses on the development has been increased from 137 to 179 dwellings. I have asked planners whether this can be done without a variation to the original outline planning permission which caps the number of homes at 137.
The additional homes will increase traffic at the new T-junction onto the A49. However, we desperately need more affordable homes in Ludlow and there will be an increase in the number of affordable houses on the development from 33 to 44.
I am expecting this scheme to be approved by council planning officers.
The Foldgate Lane housing saga began in July 2014, when Richborough Estates made a presentation to Ludford Parish Council and hosted an exhibition. Richborough appealed and a public inquiry was held in November 2016. The decision to approve the scheme was announced by the planning inspectorate in December 2019. That decision was obviously flawed but Shropshire Council refused to spend the money on challenging it in the high court.
Since that time, there have been a series of planning applications finalising details of each phase of the scheme and altering house types. In an application or vary house types and positions last March, Crest Nicholson said: “There will remain 137 dwellings across the site” (21/01096/VAR). But in an application submitted in mid-December, Crest Nicholson indicated that it had been speaking to planning officers for months about increasing the number of homes (21/05846/VAR):
“As discussed in our Teams meeting a few months ago, we’re seeking a further revision of the housing within the northern development parcels (approved plots 87 to 137) whereby all of the approved dwellings will be sited within the north western parcels leaving the north eastern parcel capable of accommodating some additional dwellings. We previously secured permission to replan the southern development parcels of the site to deliver a greater proportion of small houses to respond to market demands. Consequently, the density of the northern parcels is now relatively low and the site has capacity to deliver some additional dwellings.
“Via a separate full application, an additional 42 dwellings are proposed within the north eastern development parcel through a separate full planning application that would raise the overall site total from 137 to 179 dwellings.”
I am seeking advice on whether the increase in dwellings can be permitted without a variation to the original outline planning permission, which would require another application.
I am very uncomfortable with the process, which might best be described as planning creep. Crest Nicholson should have issued a clear public statement of its intentions rather than burying the changes in the detail.
I am not against an increase in the number of dwellings if that means they are of a smaller size. We are not in great need of larger homes but we are in dire need of smaller dwellings. The four bungalows are welcome as they are in short supply in Ludlow and sell at a premium.
The dwelling on Plot 138 should change. This plot will tower at the head of slope facing the low rise properties on Greenacres. Instead of a two story dwelling (Type Dartford, 4 bedrooms) this should be a bungalow (Type Marlow, 2 bedrooms), creating a view that graduates in height from Greenacres.
A few years ago, Viv Parry and I met Crest Nicholson to discuss pedestrian access to the site. The company agreed to move a pedestrianisation entrance so that it will eventually connect with the road stub between Pets at Home and the Ludlow Nut Company. Currently there is an informal route from Foldgate Lane at this point which has been created by dog walkers. It will need work to make this a safe route for all walkers. Crest Nicholson will be paying community infrastructure levy money to Shropshire Council, some of which will be made available to Ludford Parish Council and might be used for this work.