There has been a lot of concern in recent days about the building of a construction depot on the green at the bottom of Sidney Road. This is not for development of the green. It is agreed that the green will never be built on. The storage containers and other facilities are for the refurbishment of houses on Sandpits Avenue.
That is fine as far as it goes but it will mean that construction traffic will travel up Sidney Road and Houseman Crescent for around 18 months. Tracey and I think that is unacceptable. Normally developers must submit a construction management plan to Shropshire Council before work commences. But in this case the council did not request one, a significant error considering the scale of the work proposed.
Both Connexus and councillors have issued media statements which are below. I have confirmed with council officers today that the temporary use of the green for a compound will not affect the determination of town green status. However, it may delay the transfer of the green to Ludlow Town Council.
Statement from Tracey Huffer and Andy Boddington
In recent days, housing association Connexus has been building a storage and operations depot on Sidney Road Green in the heart of Ludlow. This is to support work on refurbishing more than 70 homes in Sandpits Avenue. This work is needed and all councillors in the town support it. But Connexus has not discussed the location of the depot with local councillors or examined the impact of construction traffic on local narrow roads. Councillors Tracey Huffer and Andy Boddington are calling for work to be halted until a new location for the depot can be found.
For clarity, there is no intention of building on Sidney Road Green. The plan is to declare the green a town green and transfer it to Ludlow Town Council. Town green status will mean that the green can never be built on.
Tracey Huffer says:
“We absolutely support the refurbishment. It will greatly improve the properties and neighbourhood.
But we knew nothing about the construction plans until we saw the cabins being put on Sidney Road Green. This is the wrong location completely. Construction traffic from the depot will have to go up Sidney Road and Houseman Crescent to access Sandpits Avenue.
“That is a steep and winding route. The road is narrow. There are cars and vans parked everywhere. It is quite a squeeze for the bus to get through at times. Often vehicles end up with their wheels on the pavement and that’s not safe for pedestrians.
“Construction traffic is going to go up and down Sidney Road for eighteen months.
“We don’t know how much traffic because there has been no information yet from Connexus.
“But I am clear that this depot is in the wrong place.”
Andy Boddington adds:
“There should have been discussions on the location of the construction camp from the outset. Normally, a planning condition would have been put in place to require a construction management plan but Shropshire Council failed to do that. That is despite this being a major scheme of refurbishment that is the equivalent of building around 30 new homes.
“Connexus is being very helpful but I can’t help thinking we are beginning discussions on the back foot. With early discussions, I am confident that other sites could have been found for the depot within the town or on the outskirts.”
Statement from Connexus
Vicki Tomlinson, director of property at Connexus said: “The compound at the green on Sidney Road is enabling Connexus and its contractors to carry out large-scale refurbishment work to around 70 homes nearby on Sandpits Avenue as part of a £6.5million refurbishment project. Using the green for the compound allows teams to work safely, store materials securely and reduce parking issues in the area.
“The cabins and containers will stay on the site until work is completed, which is expected to take around 18 months. After that, the compound will be taken down and the area put back to how it was before.
“Connexus will not keep the compound any longer than is necessary for the refurbishment. As with all work of this kind, we will try to keep disruption to an absolute minimum for those living nearby.”