New planning battle beside site of nursery homes fight

Sunday 17th April 2022 7:00 am
Planning stock image
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AN appeal has been launched over a plan to build new homes on the Wye Valley AONB site of a dilapidated sports pavilion and former football pitch.

The land, which was recently put up for sale, borders Howle Hill Nursery, where planners turned down Hampton Court gold medal-winning gardener Peter Dowle’s application to build eight ‘contemporary’ homes with ‘polytunnel-style’ roofs in 2020, only for him to overturn the decision on appeal last year.

Herefordshire Council planners rejected Tara Barnett’s ‘permission in principle’ bid for the pavilion site, saying it amounts to unauthorised countryside development and could harm the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB.

Opposing the plan on land once used by Howle Hill FC, Virginia Morgan of the Wye Valley Society told planners last September the grassland site was at the top of the village with “no services of any sort”, “poor views” and no mains drainage.

“It lies outside the built-up area of Howle Hill… (and) within the Wye Valley AONB and is thus protected,” she said, while the society “strongly disagreed” with claims that it was part of the existing settlement and a brownfield site.

“It should not be considered a brownfield site as the pavilion building is a temporary, derelict structure placed on a small piece of hardstanding…

“Given the location of the site and previous history as meadowland, and over 30 years ago, a temporary sports field, and in order to protect the rural nature of this location, we urge that the application be refused as it represents new development in the open countryside.”

Walford Parish Council also objected, pointing out that the planning statement wrongly said the site was in the ‘Cotswold AONB’, while development on the pastureland would have a ‘significantly adverse’ effect on the landscape.

But the appeal lodged with the planning inspector claims the land is “well related to the main built-up area of Howle Hill and the homes it would provide would help address the un-met housing need”.

It also says the case is supported by the successful nursery appeal and the granting of another neighbouring planning application, and claims it is “sustainable development”.

The appeal includes “a landscape scheme to demonstrate that the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB can be conserved or enhanced”.And the applicant says the council has “incorrectly assessed that the site is greenfield, undeveloped land, whilst the appeal proposals would actually provide the opportunity to remediate a previously developed site in poor visual appearance”.

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