Traffic chaos and infrastructure strain could be the outcome of a planning appeal decision, which allows for a major new estate off the Bromyard Road, with only one access point.

This is the view of Ledbury people, who have been responding with dismay to the decision by The Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, to allow a 625 home estate by Bloor.

Traffic snarl-ups and flooding are not uncommon on the Bromyard Road, but the idea of a second 'back-up' access under the viaduct has been dismissed.

Local man, Terry Wilkins said the appeal decision left him "gobsmacked", and he added: "There will be mayhem on that road and surrounding lanes. Ledbury will be grid-locked with another 600 or more cars using the town.The supermarket car parks won't be able to accommodate the increase. This should be interesting."

Barry Moore said: "Trying to get along the Bromyard road to the station about 4.30pm now is awful; add all those extra cars and it'll be a nightmare."

Wellington Heath correspondent, Peter Constantine said: "There were 600 reasonable objections. I think that, generally, this decision will cause a lot of traffic issues; the Bromyard Road is narrow and not built for heavy traffic, and it could flood on the South West end of the site."

However, the Environment Agency report said the site was "not at risk of flooding and would not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere".

But it is a new condition that no increase in flood risk should be associated with a proposed canal restoration project, through the the site.

And it must be demonstrated that "that property levels and thresholds have been designed to prevent the entrance of surface water into properties".

Ledbury Town Council, which defended its opposition at the appeal, said it was "extremely disappointed".

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 March 2020, Ledbury Town Council was backed by a 97 per cent support parish poll, over its view that the access proposal "was not satisfactory".

In her report to the Secretary of State, the inspector Lesley Coffey acknowledged the high degree of public objection to the access proposals but discounted it by stating: “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, under the railway bridge, would not be significantly over-capacity in servicing an additional 625 homes.

And she decided that a second access, such as one proposed for under the viaduct, would not provide any discernible benefit; and that the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the community of Wellington Heath, which lies immediately off the Bromyard Road, would not be significantly affected by rat running.

The inspector also concluded that traffic directed through the centre of Ledbury would not impact "significantly" on the conservation area.

The town council's planning committee chairman, Cllr John Bannister said: “We think this inspector has made the wrong decision. Unfortunately, it appears that the serious shortcomings are something that the town and local residents will just have to live with. Unlike the people who have foisted them on us."

But more could be foisted on both the town and county council.

An application for a full award of costs was made by Bloor Homes Western against Herefordshire Council and Ledbury Town Council.

An award of costs, which could be considerable, would require a High Court decision.

A Bloor spokesman said: “Bloor Homes endorses the decision by the Secretary of State to award costs against both Herefordshire Council and Ledbury Town Council for their unreasonable behaviour. 
“It confirms that this application should never have had to go through a lengthy, costly appeal.”
It is not known, as yet, how much these costs will be.
The Bloor spokesman added: “It goes without saying that Bloor Homes is conscious of concerns within the local community over the consented site access arrangements. 
“We will now work closely with officers to implement identified, key highway improvements;  and safe pedestrian and cycle connections from the site to the town. We look forward to a start on site in late summer 2021.”