A plan for 15 new homes in a Herefordshire village, five of them affordable, along with a new community shop, has passed the first hurdle – over five years after first being put forward.

The application for outline permission for the development in Burley Gate, immediately south of the A465 between Hereford and Bromyard, was made in 2018 by nearby resident Cyril Simcock.

But since then it has been “on phosphate hold”, as one consultee put it. The proposal, like many others in the county, fell foul of a legal obligation on Herefordshire Council not to permit any developments that would add to water pollution in the catchment of the protected river Lugg.


The council has recently begun to clear this backlog thanks to a scheme to allow developers to buy a suitable amount of “phosphate credits” which fund new wetlands around water treatment plants.

In this case, the developer is to buy these to the value £39,900, according to a draft agreement with the council, which says it will also pay £21,290, index-linked, to the nearby Burley Gate primary and to Barrs Court special school in Hereford, and a further £35,631 for local transport measures.

The Simcocks have also undertaken to gift part of the site to the parish council, “or such other community group”, to build a community shop and post office with parking. The village’s current shop has operated from a portable cabin in the village hall car park opposite the development site since 2015.


At just under a hectare of farmland, the site is the main area earmarked for housing in the Ocle Pychard neighbourhood development plan.

Backing the Simcocks’ proposal, planning officer Ollie Jones said an increase in the local population “would help to sustain existing community facilities”, while a proposed new crossing point over the A465 “weighed strongly in the application’s favour”.

He was also happy that a revised drainage scheme “would not adversely impact on water quality or drainage in the locality”.

A further application will now have to be made covering the houses’ design, layout and landscaping.