A BUSINESSMAN’S third bid to develop a paddock with new homes in a village that has been ‘bombarded’ with new buildings has been turned down by council planners.
Clive Hatt from Worcester has made three outline attempts to obtain permission to develop the site in Llangrove – right beside the nature reserve where Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s bid to turn two barns into a holiday let was also rejected in 2020.
But despite two previous plans being turned down on appeal, he tried again, claiming previous reasons for refusal - concerns over vehicle access and drainage – had been “fully addressed”.
Villagers and the local parish council submitted more than 40 objections this time.
And rejecting the scheme, Herefordshire planning officer Gemma Webster noted that since the previous bid, the Neighbourhood Development Plan had been adopted and the county’s housing land supply increased, meaning the bar for approval had been raised.
There were also “significant concerns” with access to the site, while bat and ecology surveys submitted were “outdated”, she said.
Noting the “large number of objections from local residents and the parish council”, she concluded: “There are adverse impacts associated with this proposal which would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of two additional dwellings.”
While this plan has been rejected, Mr Hatt also has another one pending for three bungalows on grazing land on the other side of the lane.
Llangarron Parish Council “strongly” objected to the rejected plan, claiming it was based on “inaccurate and outdated assumptions”.
It added: “The proposed site is directly adjacent to Tretawdy Nature Reserve, which is an important and fragile area of valuable open space supporting wildlife and providing a precious recreational resource for local people.”
Potential pollution of the River Wye and inadequate access were also highlighted, while councillors said the Llangarron parish had “considerably over-performed” in meeting county housing targets of 64 houses by 2031, having already seen 105 new dwellings.
A planning statement from AddisonRees Planning Consultancy Ltd on behalf of the resubmitted scheme claimed water management proposals had been backed by drainage experts, and there was less risk of contamination than from farm animals.
The Tretawdy reserve next door was the subject of a bitter planning battle two years ago, when HWT tried to convert two rundown barns into a six-berth family holiday let to raise funds for conservation.
Villagers claimed it would destroy the tranquil setting by attracting “stag dos and hen parties”.
And Herefordshire planning councillors rejected the scheme, despite officers recommending approval.
A counter plan put forward by residents to convert the barns into an educational centre was thrown out last May after no ecological report was submitted about the potential effect on wildlife and fauna of large school groups visiting the reserve.
The farm has had a contentious history pre-dating former owner Eileen Cook leaving it in her will to HWT in 2016, after her death at the age of 98.
It was dubbed ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ by High Court judges in 2010 when Mrs Cook made headlines at the age of 92 by winning a bitter court battle to evict her then 60-year-old daughter Pauline and son-on-law Wyndham Thomas, 76, from the farmhouse she shared with them.
The Court of Appeal heard that the widow and the couple lived in opposite ends of the building, and hadn’t talked to each other for eight years, with the pensioner claiming she had been forced to live in one room of the house and had been “through hell”.
Judges - who heard that relations had originally broken down 20 years earlier when Mrs Cook’s daughter married Mr Thomas - ordered the eviction of the couple, ruling that they had no right to live there and had to pay damages and costs.