NEXT week will see a crunch planning appeal to decide whether a proposed 420 home estate to the south of Ledbury should get the go ahead.

The appeal, on the grounds of non-determination, has been brought by Gladman Developments against Herefordshire Council, and it will take place at the Assembly Hall, The Town Hall, in St Owen Street, Hereford on October 8, from 10am.

Gladman's planning application for a big new estate off the Dymock Road has effectively been in limbo since January 31, when a decision date came and went.

The appeal could last for up to four days.

An advance note from the Planning Inspectorate says that main issues to be examined include Herefordshire Council's apparent lack of five year housing land supply; the effect of the development on the character and appearance of the area, "including the landscape setting of the settlement, the setting of the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and trees the

subject of a Tree Preservation Order".

The appeal will also look at "whether the proposal would provide appropriate living conditions for

future residents of the adjacent housing development; the effect of the proposal on highway safety, and "whether the proposal would provide an appropriate site for development having regard to local and national planning policies that

seek to manage the location of new development and its accessibility".

At a meeting of the full Ledbury Town Council last March, town and county councillor, Liz Harvey raised concerns over Gladman's plan to have access to the new estate, not off the Dymock Road itself but via the roundabout, off Leadon Way.

This roundabout was built to facilitate Barratt's 247 homes Hawk Rise estate, which is now under construction.

Town Councillor, John Bannister has submitted a response in advance of the Gladman appeal, and on behalf of the town council, signalling opposition to the proposed 420 home estate.

Cllr Bannister said: "It is clear that this proposed development design, size and location is wholly contrary to the objectives and policies set out in the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP)."

The NDP is the planning blueprint for the next two decades, and it is a sister document for Herefordshire Council's Core Strategy which calls for major housing development to the north of Ledbury, not the south.

Under the Core Strategy, Ledbury was only set to get around 800 new homes.

Cllr Bannister said of the Gladman proposal: "If such an application was granted, and with the current number of speculative development applications, there is a real danger that not 825 but 1500 to 2500 dwellings could be constructed in Ledbury over the period. This would amount to a

substantial and unsustainable increase in the population (currently 10,000) with a huge negative

impact on the local environment and the quality of life for people living in the town.

"The proposed development is a gross contradiction of the NDP which we have every right to expect that development applications should comply consequently, Ledbury Town Council strongly oppose this proposed development."

In it's case statement, Gladman says the 23.53ha site lies adjacent to existing residential development on the edge of Ledbury and that the proposed access is "through land with an existing planning permission".

The statement adds: "The site is connected to the existing adopted highway".

Concerning potential benefits to the community, the Gladman statement says: "The application includes approximately 5 hectares of land to be transferred to the local authority for the benefit of the community. The appellant undertook discussions with local sports teams and the local authority and understood the need for additional sports pitches."

Gladman says Herefordshire Council's most recent housing supply statement from October 2018 "confirms the supply is equivalent to 4.55 years" not the necessary five, and the statement adds: "The appeal proposal therefore responds to the urgent requirement to identify new development sites to meet housing needs in Ledbury and the wider district."