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Gladman is at it again PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Monday, 29 October 2018 20:20

... and again - see update

Land agent Gladman now has its avaricious eyes on land between Fairtree Farm and Redbank Fruit Farm, to the west of the bypass.  The Cheshire-based company has circulated a 'public consultation leaflet' to approximately 650 households and businesses in Ledbury.  I was one of the 'lucky' recipients - it was addressed to 'The Occupier' at my home address.  Click on the image below to see a larger version of the proposed site plan.

Although they appear to be 'testing the waters' before submitting a formal planning application to Herefordshire Council, this proposal for a further 210 houses will undoubtedly receive a hostile response - which would be justified, given how much Ledbury has been besieged by developers in recent years with no regard for the town's already inadequate infrastructure.  For example - how would residents reach the town centre?  Along Lower Road and Bridge Street of course, which we all know are far too narrow and full of parked cars.  Aldi would undoubtedly benefit (as if it wasn't busy enough already): ironically although being accused of being 'out of town' at its planning stage, it would then become the 'town centre'!

This is the third assault on Ledbury's surrounding countryside from Gladman alone: the first was agricultural land between the Dymock road and the bypass, which was refused by Herefordshire Council (HC) but later won on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.  The site was then sold, with outline planning permission and hence a massive profit, to builders Barratt et. al.  [Interestingly, the map on Barratt's website (which depicts a condescendingly twee Ledbury with, of course, no mention of the impasse following the Ornua legal challenge) shows the 'Hawk Rise' site being near Martins Way, ie. well within the bypass...]

The most pernicious aspect is that it has set a precedent for housing development outside the bypass - with all the dangers that entails to those wanting to walk or cycle into town.  The obvious result will be much increased car use - something even central government, although extremely feebly, is 'attempting' to discourage.

The second from Gladman is to the south of that site, further along the Dymock Road, for 435 dwellings.  This is currently being considered by HC (P174495/O).  Comments on this may still be made online until 14th November: to date 586 representations are listed on HC's website, of which only 7 are supportive and 7 are neutral.

Dymock Road update 13th November: HC has now received a revised application (P184032/O) for a slightly smaller number of up to 420 dwellings with public open space, land for community facilities, landscaping and sustainable drainage system (SuDS) with all matters reserved save for access.  The major differences in this later application are:

  • the outline area is bigger, with the addition of a triangle of land to the south-east of the original;
  • the underlined text above is an addition;
  • the plan for a roundabout on the Dymock Road has been dropped (though the small print in the 'Design Access' statements parts 2 and 3 cites an 'emergency access' off the Dymock Road opposite Hazel Farm); and
  • The proposed main access is through the Barratt development, ie. a single access to over 700 dwellings via what has become known as the 'roundabout to nowhere'.  Could this become another 'Deer Park cul-de-sac' scenario?  One of the big objections to the original application was a roundabout with direct access further south to the Dymock Road, risking this becoming a rat-run to Gloucester.  We all know what an 'emergency access' could become...  Either way, this is far too much and too far out of town.

Comments on this later application must be received by 13th December.  As usual, these may be made online.  (The earlier application has not been withdrawn.)

The clandestine appearance of this second application just after Gladman's public announcement of its designs on the 'Little Marcle Road' site makes the latter smell strongly of a smokescreen to divert attention away from the company's revised Dymock Road application.  The timing is impeccable, this being the run-up to Christmas...

Gladman is notorious for its persistence: it claims a 90% 'success' rate in achieving outline planning permission - some examples where the company has gone as far as the High Court and won are listed here, cynically entitled 'Going The Country Mile'.  Fortunately there are a few instances where local persistence has succeeded - for example Gladman was sent off with a flea in its ear by a High Court judge in June 2018 regarding a site near Bewdley.

The company has offered an online response facility to its latest incursion, from where a PDF of the 'consultation' leaflet that was sent out may be downloaded.  Although the company has asked for responses, it might be prudent to wait until a formal planning application is made to Herefordshire Council and respond instead via its planning web page.  When or if a planning application is published by HC, a link will be posted on the Portal.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 November 2018 19:26