PLANS to build 34 homes on the outskirts of Hereford have been thrown out due to concerns over the presence of nickel.

An environmental health officer said “high levels” of the metal had been found on the brownfield site off Attwood Lane in Holmer.

Councillors discussing whether to grant Lioncourt Homes permission to go ahead with the scheme said the contamination was one of a number of worries they had.

“There are still some major issues which need to be addressed,” said Councillor Sally Robertson.

“I don’t feel the site has been properly marketed as employment land.

“There is also concern over the traffic.

I stood by the turn into Attwood Lane for four minutes the other day and counted 32 cars which went that way.”

She added her surprise the applicants had not attended the meeting.

The committee was told that to cope with the contamination a “cover layer system” could be used to protect the nickel from being disturbed.

But Councillor Adrian Bridges said this method was not good enough.

“Why are we covering it up and not removing it at source?” he asked.

Hazel Philpotts, on behalf of Holmer and Shelwick Parish Council, said the area had a “serious problem with sewage”.

But despite the applicants not attending, the idea still received support from Coun Marcelle Lloyd- Hayes.

“It’s a brownfield site and I’ll be supporting this,” she said.

“We have to provide housing for the future of this county.

“I have known it be employment land for two or three decades now but no-one has come forward to take it on.”

A near unanimous objection followed because of issues over the loss of employment land, design and site levels, the affect on the landscape of the area and the scale of contamination.