Vast suburban housing estate harms town setting and AONB

Outline planning permission for up to 420 homes to the south of a town in Herefordshire would comprise a vast suburban estate and harm both the setting of the settlement and the Malvern Hills AONB, an inspector decided.

200-008-907 (Image Credit: Herefordshire Council)
200-008-907 (Image Credit: Herefordshire Council)

The inspector noted that the scheme would extend a considerable distance into the countryside, creating a housing estate within a largely rural landscape. A substantial part of a hedgerow would be removed to provide an emergency access and while a new hedgerow would be planted, this would be set back within the site eroding a sense of enclosure. Nor had a plan been provided showing how the required road network and total number of houses could be accommodated on the site as well as retaining a meaningful pattern of hedgerows. Since the site also fell within the setting of the AONB, the scale of the housing proposed would fail to conserve and enhance environmental assets.

A further concern related to the accessibility to existing facilities. In the inspector's opinion key services and facilities lay in excess of one and a half kilometres distant which exceeded distances recommended by the institute of highways and transportation. Existing and proposed bus would not be particularly convenient for future residents such that overall, they would be dependent on the use of cars. Taking into account the spatial distribution of new housing development, together with a plan to address the shortfall in housing land, the inspector decided that the site was not an appropriate location for residential development. The harm significantly and demonstrably outweighed the benefits and the appeal was dismissed.

Inspector: Zoe Raygen; Inquiry

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