A plan to build up to 500 new homes by a Herefordshire town appears to be back on, thanks to a new scheme to make it easier to get building projects in the county off the ground.

Bovis Homes sought outline permission for the scheme at Hardwick Bank to the north-west of Bromyard in 2016.

Its plan also included new woodland park, a perimeter strip of public open space and three children’s play areas. It would require new roundabout on the A44, and T-junction access from Tenbury Road.

The plan is the largest in the county to be held up by a legal ruling in 2019, which required all new developments in the river Lugg catchment to demonstrate they would not add to nutrients entering the river system.

By one recent estimate, this has held up building of about 2,500 new homes in all, at a cost to the county of £316 million.



However last month Herefordshire Council’s cabinet signed off a new “phosphate credits” system, which from this month will allow developers to buy credits generated by its new “integrated” wetland near Luston, to offset the phosphates arising from their new developments.

“Credits will be allocated on the agreed first-come-first-served policy,” the council has said, and has published a spreadsheet listing 130 “undetermined” development applications, amounting to over 1,800 homes.

As well as being the largest, the Bovis proposal is the oldest-dated of these, suggesting it will be a priority for the scheme.

A Herefordshire Council spokesperson would not confirm this, but said: “Developers will need to submit a precise calculation to gain credits. The council estimates that ultimately Luston will deliver 670 homes.”

He added: “We want to see the council’s credit scheme deliver new homes for our residents as soon as possible and we are keen to avoid developers sitting on credits for homes that are not going to be built immediately.”

Robert Winstone, senior strategic development manager for Bovis Homes’ parent company Vistry Group, said: “We are still progressing with the scheme in Bromyard and we hoping to have a meeting with senior officers in the planning department at Herefordshire Council to discuss our revised plans later this month.

“The development will be affected by the phosphate issues affecting Herefordshire but we will continue to work with the council to unlock this key site which is necessary to address the housing shortages in the county.”

Bromyard had 2,128 homes at the time of the 2011 census.