The Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, has allowed the Bloor Homes appeal on the viaduct site, which means the controversial single access estate off the Bromyard Road can go ahead.

Ledbury Town Council, which defended its opposition at the appeal, says it is "extremely disappointed that the Secretary of State has found in favour of Bloor Homes and that the damaging single access to the viaduct site development is to go ahead".

The town council stood alone at the enquiry, after Herefordshire Council officers decided not to defend their own Planning Committee’s decision to refuse the application on access grounds.

In this the town council earned the respect and support of many Ledbury people, but it was not enough.

In her report the inspector acknowledged the high degree of public objection to the access proposals but discounted it by stating: “I am aware that the proposed development was subject to a large number of objections and in a poll of local people most people opposed it. However, local support or opposition to a scheme is not in itself a reason for granting or refusing planning permission.”

The inspector, in reporting to the Secretary of State, concluded that:

•The station junction would not be significantly over-capacity in servicing an additional 625 homes and 3 hectares of employment land;

•A second access, such as one proposed under the viaduct, would not provide any discernible benefit;

•The AONB and community of Wellington Heath would not be significantly affected by rat running.

•Traffic directed through the centre of Ledbury would not impact significantly on the conservation area.

Cllr John Bannister said: “We think this inspector has made the wrong decision. Unfortunately, it appears that the serious shortcomings is something that the town and local residents will just have to live with. Unlike the people who have foisted them."

More to follow...