Developers say they are “disappointed” after plans to build retirement flats in Ledbury were rejected.

McCarthy Stone had wanted to build a block of 53 apartments on land off The Homend.

But its planning application was rejected by Herefordshire councillors last week, despite planning officers recommending it for approval.

Katie Fisher, divisional managing director at McCarthy Stone, said: “Given Herefordshire Council's planning officer had recommended members to approve the application, we are extremely disappointed with Wednesday's decision to refuse our application to deliver much-needed retirement housing in Ledbury.

“The plans were the culmination of extensive collaboration with Herefordshire Council officers over the past 18 months and had no outstanding technical objections from statutory consultees for planning committee members to base their refusal on.

“Both Herefordshire Council and Ledbury Town Council have outlined the need to deliver specialist homes for older people in the town.

“These proposals would have helped to meet this need, allowing local older people to move into a more suitable home, while staying close to friends and family in Ledbury.”

A spokesperson said McCarthy Stone was now assessing its options for the future of the scheme and that no decision had been made on whether to appeal the planning decision.

Planning officer Chloe Smart had recommended that councillors approve the plan, citing its “highly sustainable location”.

But Ledbury Town Council had objected to the development on a number of grounds including the height and density of the flats, and a lack of affordable housing.

A number of residents also objected to the plans, citing fears over noise and disruption during the construction, a loss of privacy and traffic concerns.

Lee Palmer said: “This section of The Homend is notoriously bad when it comes to traffic issues, particularly around the junction of Knapp Lane at peak times.

“The addition of the development at the Viaduct will no doubt exacerbate the problem even more.”

Penny Crowther also expressed concern over the entrance to the site being on the main road.

She also objected to the removal of trees, which she says will impact the “glorious local wildlife”.