Since February, Bristol-based planning inspector Beverley Wilders has been examining an appeal for five independent living bungalows on the green space at the bottom of Sidney Road and Charlton Rise in Ludlow. Last week she announced that the appeal had been allowed and gave the scheme planning permission.
Although the scheme, put forward by Connexus, will bring affordable homes to the area, the development will see the felling of a Norway Maple and the loss of a popular green space.
The inspector said she found no reason to object to the development. She said: “A large amount of open space would be retained and the forward building line of the proposed buildings would be broadly in line with nearby development on Sidney Road and Charlton Rise.
“I am satisfied that the design and appearance of the proposed bungalows adequately reflects and respects surrounding development and that their siting towards the rear of the site ensures that a sufficient amount of open space would remain so as to ensure that the proposal would not be harmful to the character and quality of the area which is one of the main access routes into Ludlow.”
The current informal path across the green will be diverted. The inspector said: “I am satisfied that future occupiers would not be subject to undue amounts of overlooking from the path or that they would be likely to perceive security issues.”
She also dismissed concerns regarding sites for the possible landing of the air ambulance in the case of a medical emergency in the area.
Tracey Huffer, Shropshire councillor for Ludlow East which includes the development site, said: "I am saddened and disappointed by this decision. This green space is vital for the area. The inspector is wrong in thinking that the air ambulance can use Gallows Bank as an alternative. The nearby gate to the bank is always locked and there is only a narrow pedestrian access onto the field.
“The Norway Maple that Connexus plans to cut down was paid for by the residents of Sidney Road, who also paid for the tree cut down in 2016. What compensation is the housing association going to pay for removing two beautiful trees that did not belong to it?
“South Shropshire Housing Group (SSHG) ignored our proposed alternative sites for social housing. Those could have left this green area untouched. Since SSHG was absorbed by Connexus, the organisation has become even more remote. It is now no different from any other housing developer.”
Andy Boddington is Shropshire councillor for Ludlow North. He said: “This is an important gateway into Ludlow. It deserves more than the bog standard design that has been trotted out by the housing association with the support of Shropshire Council and waved through by the planning inspectorate. Government ministers have recently emphasised that good quality design is essential for new developments but that message doesn’t seem to have filtered down to either the council or planning inspectors.”