The latest proposals for the gardens of Linney House in Ludlow are for four large detached homes, and follow alternative schemes for three and eight houses which have been submitted to Shropshire Council over the last eight years.
Planning officers have recommended the application be approved as it is the preferred of the three competing plans, despite concerns around loss of trees and the fact the site lies outside the town’s defined development boundary.
The landowner says the wall along The Linney will be re-built and taken back to improve visibility from the access point, and a second access will be created.
Shropshire Council’s planning committee will decide the application at a meeting on Tuesday.
Proposals for three homes were approved in 2014, and again in 2017. A decision is awaited from the planning inspectorate on the eight-house scheme, which is the subject of an appeal on the grounds of non-determination after the council took too long to reach a judgement.
At a meeting of the council’s southern planning committee in July, members said the proposals for eight homes would cause harm to the environment and go against planning policies. They narrowly voted to indicate to the inspector that the application would have been rejected had the decision not been taken out of the council’s hands.
Planning officer Andrew Sierakowski has now said the latest application overcomes some of the concerns surrounding the previous proposals.
His report to the committee says: “This application represents a further amendment of the previously submitted scheme following lengthy and extensive discussion and negotiation with the applicant, which seeks to address the shortcomings of the previous scheme and in particular the inadequate level of the woodland replanting being proposed to provide compensation, mitigation and enhancement for the woodland loss required.
“It addresses this by reducing the number of dwellings proposed to four dwellings, which are of a contemporary design, and which once the proposed tree planting on the site has matured, are intended to be set in woodland.”
The loss of trees is once again a significant factor in determining the application. The council’s trees team claims 256 of the 401 trees within the grounds were felled between 2015-16, of which it says 157 were felled unlawfully. The landowner disputes the exact figures but has agreed to compensatory planting.
Mr Sierakowski recommends the committee supports the application and delegates approval to the council’s head of planning subject to the developer signing a ‘section 106’ agreement to make a financial contribution towards affordable housing.
The report concludes: “The public benefits of the scheme can be considered to include the repair of the boundary wall and the improvements to access along The Linney, the affordable housing contribution that would be secured and an improved architectural design.
“The harm caused by the loss of the existing trees and woodland as a result of the clearance of the site required to implement the scheme can be offset and betterment can be provided by the enhanced landscaping and habitat proposals and the long term landscape and habitat management plan that has been offered.
“Insofar as this is the case, the proposal included in this application does sufficiently and satisfactorily provide an alternative to the previously proposed eight house scheme and can be considered to provide sufficient betterment and enhancement over the existing consented three house scheme, to warrant approval.”