Planners eye up possibility housing growth in Leominster and Bromyard area

Planners across the south Shropshire border are eyeing up Leominster and Bromyard for significant housing growth over the next 20 years.

The spatial options plan
The spatial options plan

They have also started the search for sites for a potential new settlement in Herefordshire which would start with 1,500 homes and bring with it growth in the Leominster area.

Herefordshire County Council is starting the process of developing its next local plan with the intention of providing a total of 17,000 homes up to 2041 – that's 11,200 dwellings plus the homes that have been permitted recently.

A range of options is this week being put forward as the public consultation exercise gets under way.

All of them see Leominster taking hundreds of new homes – up to 2,100 in one option – and Bromyard also in line for hundreds more.

These would be on top of the hundreds already permitted as the council stretches to meet the Government need to build 850 homes each year for the next 20 years.

Other areas of the county including Hereford, Ledbury, and Ross-on-Wye have also been listed in the options.

Consultation on the options for the location and scale of new development throughout the county is now live and will run until February 28. A new local plan could be adopted by 2024.

Planners say it will ensure that "we deliver the required housing, alongside the jobs, and supporting community infrastructure and services in a way that is appropriate for the rural nature and historic character of the county."

Councillor Liz Harvey, cabinet member for finance, corporate services and planning, said: “The Government targets for housing growth here in Herefordshire mean that on average we are required to plan for 850 new homes per year over the next 20 years – about 17,000 dwellings.

"Fortunately, Herefordshire already has 5,000 existing planning permissions for housing, which will count towards achieving that target. So this update will aim to strategise the location of around 12,000 homes – a much more realistic figure for Herefordshire than the growth ambitions of the current plan."

She called for "ideas and feedback from as many people as possible."

She calls the options "exciting and quite different" and says "we are keen to get wide feedback on these, as well as the high level vision and overall objectives.

"So I encourage everybody with an interest in the future of the county to take part and have their say.”

The process has included "asking for landowners/agents to send in information about possible sites for new settlements".

Any new settlement would also "require proportionate large scale growth in Leominster and Bromyard and moderate growth in Hereford and Ross-on-Wye."

The planning document continues: "In order for a site to be viable and deliverable it needs to be an appropriate size to support services that the community living there will need.

"For example a new settlement of 1,500 dwellings could support a primary school and a local centre. Whereas a settlement of 5,000 dwellings, could provide a secondary school with a larger centre.

"Developing a new settlement can be a complex and lengthy process to masterplan and deliver.

"Therefore with long lead in times, it is likely that its delivery would be towards the later stages of the plan period with a likely build rate of a maximum of 150 homes per year on average."

The strategy document also holds out the prospect of a much bigger settlement being developed after 2041. It adds: "Therefore we have based this option on a new settlement size of 1,500 new dwellings for the plan period although there may be potential for it to expand beyond then."

Planners say that the Government has asked them to continue with the local planning process in spite of proposals to change the planning law. They will also be looking in detail at the infrastructure needs.

"These options are intended as a starting point for discussion about how we might accommodate the required housing up to 2041," they say.

"We are seeking your views on each of these options and asking you to rank them in order of preference. It may be that you would prefer a different option which combines elements of the five options presented here. If that is the case, we would like you to tell us about that as well."

Some of the options listed are:

Option 1: sustained development in the larger market towns and Hereford and rural areas respectively. The rural areas would experience a sustained level of growth similar to current trends as delivery has been strong here. More moderate development would occur in Bromyard and Kington as these towns are smaller in size to the others.

Under this option Bromyard could take 350 plus the 100 it is already getting. Kington would have 150 + 20; Leominster could have 950 extra homes on top of 400 commitments.

Option 2: Would mean increased growth in the key market towns of Ross-on-Wye, Ledbury and Leominster. This in turn would increase their scope to obtain more affordable housing and contributions to facilities and infrastructure improvement.

Under this option Leominster is earmarked for an extra 1,300 homes on top of the 400 it has taken.

Option 3 would result in a broader distribution of development across the county when compared to some of the other options. Bromyard would get 650 more, Kington 250 and Leominster 1,700.

Option 4: single market town growth: Under this option one of the three largest market towns, Ledbury or Leominster or Ross-on-Wye, would be a growth town. This would mean one of these towns taking an additional 2,000 dwellings (approximately).

Option 4a sees Leominster as a growth town, taking 2,100 more homes on top of the 400 it already has. Other sub-options see Ross on Wye or Ledbury as growth towns.

Option 5 is the one looking at a new rural settlement with more growth focused in Leominster and Bromyard.

The planners say this option considers a possibility of one or more new settlements located in a rural area of the county.

"Herefordshire does not have large scale brownfield sites to develop and therefore any new settlement site is likely to be a greenfield site," planners say.

To take part in the Herefordshire Local Plan consultation, visit: hlp.commonplace.is/

Responses must be received no later than February 28. The council says the responses will help determine the preferred options which will then be worked up in more detail to identify broad locations for strategic housing development sites and policy options.

A further round of public consultation will take place in the Spring.

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