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HEREFORDSHIRE: Planning bid ‘a Trojan horse’

HEREFORDSHIRE: Planning bid ‘a Trojan horse’

The Stoke Lacy meeting discussing the proposal for 20 new homes by the village. (Image: LDRS)

A planned housing estate on the edge of a Herefordshire village “is going to be a Trojan horse” for a much larger development, a nearby resident has claimed.

An extraordinary meeting of Stoke Lacy Parish Council was called to set out a response to an application for a 20-home development at the village, on a compact site by the A465.

But Roland Horton said the location plan and design and access statement submitted with the application depicted a much larger site of 3.9 hectares,

He and his wife have engaged planning consultant Vicky Simpson to submit a formal objection to the proposal.

“It is not clear what the development plans are for the site beyond the houses and infrastructure,” her submission says.

“The inclusion of the additional land… gives rise to a fear that the applicant may be using this planning application as a vehicle from which to apply for further permissions for residential development across the wider site.”

It also notes that Stoke Lacy “has already delivered 28 houses in a single development” as well as other developments, putting it ahead of the 15 per cent extra housing required by the Herefordshire core strategy, the blueprint for development across the county.

“As such, there is no justification for the additional houses in open countryside at this time,” Ms Simpson’s report concludes.

Mr Horton also claimed that sewage from the new houses “will end up in the river Lodon and so in the village”, and pointed out that protected great crested newts were abundant in the area.

Parish council chairman Janet Ivison said: “We are aware this is over-development and will formulate a response to (Herefordshire Council’s) planning committee.”

She agreed with another resident, Marcel Carrier, that “they are in the wrong place, and we have no facilities for them”.

Local county councillor Jonathan Lester said: “It’s important you are here – the more people I can represent (to the planning committee), the better.”

He explained that while the core strategy “set a bare minimum of 15 per cent housing growth for Stoke Lacy”,  planners will be concerned instead with whether the proposal amounts to “proportionate” development, or whether it was “way above” the village’s requirement.

“Stoke Lacy can say it has already done its bit,” he said. “But I don’t know how the will respond. Meanwhile, the whole core strategy is being reviewed.”

To the suggestion that houses be built in Hereford instead, Coun Lester said: “You can’t determine where a develop will apply to build.”

Concerns were also raised that the new development would give onto a stretch of the A465 where speeding is common.

Parish council clerk Paul Hayden said: “We have had a significant number of accidents there – you can double the number reported to the police.”

Police are currently measuring speeds along the stretch to support a bid to have the speed limit lowered, he said.

Words: Gavin McEwan, Local Democracy Reporter

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