A planning application for 15 new homes and a community shop in the Herefordshire village of Burley Gate has cleared its first hurdle after more than five years. Initially proposed in 2018 by local resident Cyril Simcock, the project was stalled due to environmental concerns but now gains momentum thanks to a new “phosphate credits” scheme by the council.

The development, located immediately south of the A465 between Hereford and Bromyard, found itself in limbo due to its potential impact on water quality in the nearby protected river Lugg. As one consultee noted, the proposal was “on phosphate hold.” This was part of a broader issue affecting projects across Herefordshire, where legal obligations prevented the council from approving developments that could worsen water pollution.

A new initiative enables developers to purchase “phosphate credits,” which are used to fund new wetlands around water treatment plants. For this particular development, Cyril Simcock is to buy credits worth £39,900, according to a draft agreement. The agreement also outlines contributions of £21,290, index-linked, to the nearby Burley Gate primary and to Barrs Court special school in Hereford, plus £35,631 for local transport measures.

Cyril and his family have pledged to gift a portion of the development site for the construction of a community shop and post office, complete with parking. This comes as a significant boost for the community as the current village shop has been operating from a portable cabin in the village hall car park since 2015.

Planning officer Ollie Jones backed the proposal, stating that an increased local population “would help to sustain existing community facilities.” He also noted that a proposed new crossing point over the A465 “weighed strongly in the application’s favour.” Ollie was satisfied that the updated drainage scheme “would not adversely impact on water quality or drainage in the locality.”