LEDBURY Town Council has formally objected to a planning application for 100 houses on the cricket pitch, behind the full Pitcher Pub.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the town's planning committee, on Thursday, June 26, under delegated powers, - so it will not require ratification by the full town council.

The final decision, however, lies with Herefordshire Council.

The vote to object to the application, was seven for the motion, to oppose the housing development, and five abstentions.

Ledbury's Mayor, Coun Bob Barnes, the chairman of the Ledbury Sports Federation, voted for the motion to oppose the application.

His main concern is that no supporting, linked application has yet been submitted to Herefordshire Council, giving details of a replacement cricket pitch off the Ross Road, or elsewhere.

Cllr Barnes said: "We could have approved the houses, - and then the owners could have walked away.

"A presentation on the night by the Cricket Club was excellent, and the majority of town councillors support the club in their ambitions for a new ground; but there is no evidence to support their hopes, no written confirmation."

Town Councillors were also concerned about access and egress on to the site, off New Street, and the fact that the cricket pitch is protected as an area of open space under the current planning blueprint for the town, the Unitary Development Plan.

Cllr Barnes said of the site: "I prefer to keep it as open space, but as a sportsman the possibility of new facilities for the club must be considered, - but there must be evidence.

"The decision last Thursday was the right decision in the end."

The application by the Silverwood Partnership and Enterprise Inns Plc mentioned that a linked application would be sent to Herefordshire Council, concerning a new cricket pitch site; but this hasn't happened yet.

The Ledbury Reporter attempted to contact the agent whose details are on the housing application, a Laura Wilkinson, only to be told she was not available and that "we don't actually make statements to the press, I am afraid."