House builders hear concerns over site access at Ludlow development
Housing developers have met with councillors to hear their concerns over proposals for access to a major building site off a busy road.
Representatives from Crest Nicholson met with town, parish and unitary councillors from Ludlow and Ludford at the site where it plans to build 137 homes off Foldgate Lane.
The planning application was granted approval on appeal in 2016 after a five-year battle between the developers and local residents.
The reserved matters application was approved last month, but under the conditions of the planning approval no houses can be built until a junction for construction access off the A49 has been created.
Crest Nicholson's current plans show the location of the T-junction to be at a point where the road is significantly raised above the site. More than 100 trees will need to be cleared for it to be created.
The developer has stated that for the first six to eight weeks, construction vehicles will need to use Foldgate Lane to access the site due to the access point being too steep.
To avoid this scenario, Ludlow unitary councillors Andy Boddington and Viv Parry have asked for the junction to be moved further south, which they say will make it easier to build and minimise tree loss.
Meanwhile Ludford Parish Council has argued that trucks should instead approach from Sheet Farm, on the other side of the A49, and use an agricultural underpass to get to the site.
"There are three competing proposals," said Councillor Boddington. "Ours is a more complex proposal but it would be a more satisfactory long term solution.
"However, the developer does not wish to engage again with Highways England which has proved to be a difficult organisation to deal with. The Ludford proposal makes a lot of sense."
Councillor Boddington said he had sympathy with the developers' position but, "I think it better that Crest Nicholson should bite the bullet and change the access point altogether.
He added: "The Ludford proposal has a lot of merit. I hope that Crest Nicholson and council planners will consider it seriously because Foldgate Lane is not suited to construction traffic.
"We also discussed keeping the underpass in use once the housing is built. The rationale for this is that it could provide a cycle and pedestrian route to the proposed employment area east of the A49.
"However, Highways England is insisting that the underpass is blocked up. I think this is unnecessary. It does nothing to promote sustainable transport and the essential shift from motorised transport to active travel by cycling and walking in an era of climate emergency."
Crest Nicholson declined to comment.