1,500 future homes plan ‘unsustainable’

Monday 11th July 2022 6:00 am
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HOUSING plans that could see another 1,500 homes built in Ross-on-Wye over the next 20 years are ‘unsustainable’, a councillor has warned.

Herefordshire residents are currently being consulted on the Government target for 11,100 new homes in the county by 2041.

The current county council proposal is for Ross to have 1,500 new homes over a 20-year period up to 2041.

Edenstone Homes has already built the new 290-home Mary’s Garden village development east of the A40 and further outline permission for another 175 houses on grassland adjoining the new estate was granted two years ago.

On top of that, developer David Wilson Homes has started to sell homes at The Orchards, a new 200-home development off the A40 between Hildersley and Weston-under-Penyard, which is yet to be built.

And Weston parish councillor Greg White warned county planners at a recent meeting that the proposed 1,500 new homes in and around the town was untenable, while nearby Ledbury is only pencilled in for 600 new homes.

He told them: “It’s got to stop somewhere. You are already having difficulty in achieving the numbers in the market towns – that will only get worse as the land supply diminishes. I don’t see this is sustainable.”

Strategic planning manager Kevin Singleton said they would try to have a draft plan by early next year, and replied: “There are no easy sites, and the constraints are likely to get worse.

“But without a plan you are in a far worse position as you are more susceptible to speculative development.”

Combining the Government’s target figure of 11,100 future homes with new homes already approved takes the number of anticipated homes in the county from the current 82,800 to 100,000 in 20 years’ time.

Although the current core strategy or local plan, adopted in 2015, covers until 2031, the Government now encourages councils to revise these every five years or so, with the current revision taking the plan period up to 2041.

A “spatial options consultation” with the public at the start of the year, to set the broad outlines of the plan, found most support for focussing development on Hereford and the county’s five market towns.

But while the current preferred option is for Hereford to get 3,900 new homes, Leominster to get 1,700 and Ross-on-Wye 1,500, Bromyard escapes with 650, Ledbury with 600, and Kington with just 250, with a further 2,500 allocated to 50 village and rural areas.

Senior planning officer at the council Angela Newey told the recent meeting of town and parish councillors that these figures “are not set in stone at this stage”.

But she explained the numbers are in addition to schemes already given the go-ahead, which gives a total figure for the 20-year period of 17,000 new homes across the county.

Residents can scrutinise proposals and submit their views at hlp.commonplace.is until Friday, July 29.

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