Row over bungalows proposal on Ludlow land earmarked as a green
A tug-of-war is set to take place as Ludlow Town Council wants to make a "town green" of an area earmarked for bungalows.
Shropshire Housing Group announced plans to build 13 bungalows in "underused" areas around Ludlow in recent weeks – but seven of them are earmarked for land between Sidney Road, Sheet Road and Charlton Rise, currently an expanse of grass and trees.
Ludlow Town Council's representational committee, which deals with planning matters, already has its eye on the land for a possible "town green" to be protected from development, following an aborted move to cut down mature trees on the grassy area in October last year.
At the time, Shropshire Housing Group insisted the trees had been ordered to be cut down to prevent tenants having to pay for their upkeep. But now the group has revealed it wants to build on the land.
Gina Wilding, town clerk, said: "When work was done on the sycamore trees by Shropshire Housing Group, we were concerned about it because we hadn't had any notification.
"Members resolved to ask Shropshire Council for a tree protection order."
The call to stop cutting down the trees came from Shropshire Council tree expert Dougald Purce after county councillors Andy Boddington and Tracey Huffer raised objections. It came too late for one sycamore but the housing association agreed not to proceed with a second.
Now plans show the bungalows will replace the central two trees, though two others on the edge of the green next to the road will remain, and three more saplings will be planted.
But Ludlow Town Council is still considering calling to preserve the space as a green for leisure and recreation, Ms Wilding said.
She said: "Members were concerned because they said it was a valuable community space and valuable amenity for the area. There were quite a few representations verbally from councillors about how important that area was and it was decided that it should be protected if people want it to be.
"The town council are engaging with the local community to establish the value of the area to people."
She a formal planning application for the bungalows had yet to go before the town council and it had not yet been discussed.
"We're not not looking cause conflict with anyone but we want to enable residents to stake a claim in that land if they want to," she said.
Shropshire Housing Group has said Ludlow is in "dire need" of more social housing for the elderly close to the town centre, but there are very few sites to build.
Paul Sutton, Shropshire Housing Groups executive director for assets and development, said: "We hope the plans will be welcomed by the town as our objective is to utilise under used areas to create more housing for the elderly and maintain their independence longer."
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