Group's bid to buy Ludlow meadow from developer is rejected

Neighbours who rallied to raise £130,000 to try to stop a medieval meadow in Ludlow from being built on have had their hopes dashed after their offer to buy the land was rejected.

Protestors at the meadow earlier this year
Protestors at the meadow earlier this year

More than 50 residents came forward to pledge money in an effort to purchase the grassland off Castle View Terrace from Shropshire Homes, after the company revealed plans to build six houses and a car parking area on the site.

The developer said it would be willing to consider dropping the plans and selling the field to the community, but has now told campaigners that £250,000 is the lowest price that will be accepted.

An email from the developer to campaign group Save the Meadow said the figure was “significantly less than we would generate as profit if we were to build out the site”.

Any sale would be subject to an agreement allowing Shropshire Homes to carry out land stabilisation works at the western edge of the meadow which slopes down to Fishmore Quarry, where the company is currently building almost 80 houses and flats.

But the group says it is not able to raise enough to meet the offer, meaning the fate of the meadow will now lie with Shropshire Council’s southern planning committee, which will decide whether or not to approve the plans.

Response

A Save the Meadow spokesperson said: “The response to our appeal for pledges far exceeded our expectations. Over 50 people have pledged £130,000 to help purchase what is 0.6 hectares of land.

“We are all deeply disappointed that Shropshire Homes have not been prepared to negotiate a more modest price.

“We were willing to allow them to retain the western edge of the land, to secure their estate in Fishmore Quarry, while the remainder of the meadow would be owned by a community interest company to retain it as a public access wildflower meadow.

“This, we felt, was a fair compromise, and is overwhelmingly what all our supporters want.”

Shropshire Homes has amended the plans since they were first submitted, reducing the number of proposed properties from seven to six and altering the design of the houses.

The group said the changes “do not address significant issues such as increased traffic, destruction of wildlife or the impact of the engineering works on the quarry edge”.

More than 160 people have objected to the proposals, which are expected to go before the planning committee in the next few months.

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