A HUGE rise in the number of planned housing developments could adversely alter the character of Herefordshire for good.

That is the belief of residents, councillors and campaign groups after the number of housing plans debated by Herefordshire Council increased by more than 150 per cent last year.

Planning committee members discussed 34 applications for 1,099 homes in 2013 - up from 22 applications for 408 houses in 2012.

And, many more could be in the pipeline for 2014.

Nigel Shore lives in Bartestree - one village where developers want to build homes.

He said that he fears for the community if a rash of applications are approved.

"Potentially, we could have 200 to 300 more homes over the next three years," said Nigel.

"A lot of us are upset about it and are trying to do everything we can to block it.

"It seems like local people are being rolled over by big money and it's a free for all for big developers."

The Hereford Times reported concerns last month from people living in Leominster of the "chaos" they fear 1,500 new homes could bring as part of a planned expansion in the town.

The huge building programme is included in a core strategy plan up until 2031.

Other large-scale developments that have recently been submitted include an application for 290 homes off the A40 near Ross-on-Wye, 120 houses off Hampton Dene Road in Hereford and 76 homes pitched for Bromyard.

Villages are also in the eye of developers. In the past three months alone, applications have been delivered to build 89 properties in Peterchurch, 50 in Bartestree and 25 in Eardisley.

This comes after permission was also granted last year to build 150 homes in Kingstone.

For the full story, see this week's Hereford Times.