A controversial plan to transform an unused half-hectare plot in Hereford into industrial units has been approved, much to the chagrin of local residents. The decision marks Birmingham-based Avenbury Estates' second attempt to develop the land east of Mortimer Road, off the main A49. This time, the plan, which includes three buildings strategically placed away from Mortimer Road residences, managed to sidestep objections from council officers and outside bodies.
Adam Lewis, a planning officer, noted that the proposed units would be open to a range of uses, but restricted by law to functions that wouldn't disturb the nearby residential area. Despite such reassurances, the plan garnered nine objections from concerned residents. Their worries ranged from visual blight and increased traffic to noise and light pollution, risk of flooding, and loss of wildlife habitat.
Yet, the council's economic development team found merits in the proposal, saying the units would serve the needs of small and start-up businesses. They highlighted a current lack of alternative sites in the city that could address this "shortage." National Highways, responsible for the A49, also weighed in, stating that the development's smaller scale would not severely impact junction traffic at the end of Mortimer Road.
The council's highways officer praised the "overprovision" of 52 parking spaces, aiming to mitigate the risk of roadside parking. The conservation manager welcomed a "substantial" buffer of large trees and landscaping to soften the appearance of the industrial structures. Welsh Water expressed no objections to diverting surface water into the nearby Ayles Brook via a controlled discharge from an attenuation tank.
The planning permission comes with 29 conditions, one of which restricts site use to between 7 am and 7 pm on weekdays, 8 am to 1 pm on Saturdays, and prohibits any activities on Sundays and holidays. While the approval may be a win for Avenbury Estates and potential small businesses, it's clear that not everyone views the development as a positive addition to the community.