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Six weeks to decide future of our town
8:30am Friday 8th March 2013 in News
FEARS are rising over the future shape of Ledbury as crucial community and housing matters are set to be decided.
The next six weeks will decide the future of the town for the next two decades, including the proposal for 700 new houses to the north of the viaduct, and a second primary school to serve a growing population.
There are also fears a community area in the heart of the town, which houses the swimming pool and community centre, could be lost to retail development. Councillors are urging people to have their say on the public consultation on the Core Strategy which lasts until April 22.
By July, Herefordshire Council planners will startto treat the Core Strategy document as an adopted document, and quicker than expected development of employment land off the Bromyard Road could result.
Coun Liz Harvey said: “Now is the time for the community to say if it wants this or not. This is the last time we will be given the opportunity to say if this is OK for Ledbury.”
She is urging local residents to talk to their local councillors, to engage with the consultation process and also with the groups developing the parish and neighbourhood plans.
She is also going to create a précis of the Core Strategy document for public viewing in town council offices in the next couple of weeks. She said: “Ledbury is expected to be a location where development happens sooner rather than later – because we are judged advantaged by our proximity to road and rail links and our house prices are the highest in the county – so developers will see us as a more attractive place to begin building than elsewhere, since building costs are the same everywhere.”
Another county councillor Peter Watts said: “We could get some fast applications going in, but they would need to get past the planning committees and appease the community. I don’t want to see a ghetto on the other side of town.”
Coun Harvey is not in favour of the viaduct site because the town council has consistently recommended fewer than 450 new houses in town.
Councillors are also concerned about pressures on local infrastructure.
Coun Watts said: “There’s a proposal for a 210-pupil primary school, so there could be a massive load of cars in that area, and I don’t think the Bromyard Road/Hereford Road junction can take it.”
Annette Crowe, chairman of the Ledbury Traders’ Association, said the new houses could boost trade, but they needed to go “hand-in-hand with improvements to the infrastructure”.
The Core Strategy and questionnaire can be viewed at herefordshire.
gov.uk. A council promotional trailer, about the consultation process, will be on St Katherine’s car park, on March 21, from 10am to 1pm.