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No Lidl - so what now? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Saturday, 30 January 2021 20:28

Herefordshire Council has refused developer Deeley’s outline application to build a supermarket, medical centre and nursery on the remaining triangle of land between the bypass and Dymock Road, so what will be the fate of this area?  It does seem that what's good for Aldi is not good for Lidl!  The land has clearly been set aside for some purpose, otherwise Hawk Rise would have spilled into it.

Of the 92 representations in total (ie. including organisations as well as individuals) on the relevant planning page of Herefordshire Council’s website, I counted 40 objections and 21 in support.  The remainder were comments neither for nor against.  Yet the recent storm on the so-called ‘Voice of Ledbury’ Facebook page indicates a strong feeling in favour, particularly of Lidl.  So why didn’t those who felt so strongly respond on Herefordshire Council’s web page when they were able to do so?  (Consultations were open for 6 months!)  Unsurprisingly, the over-priced Co-op was one of the objectors, and even Aldi threw in its twopennorth with a veiled objection.

Ledbury now has an unwanted housing estate in construction next to the site, which was forced through appeal by Gladman (who are well-versed in getting their way with the Planning Inspectorate: they have now pocketted the proceeds and moved on).  Sadly the town has to accept the reality of over 600 new residents and accommodate their needs.  Having a supermarket on their doorstep will decrease the likelihood of further clogging up the town centre with cars (and/or the section of the bypass between the site and Aldi getting over busy, or of Hawk Rise becoming a dormitory ghetto for Gloucester).  However, Deeley’s plans for this site were completely car-centric: if they had included direct pedestrian and cycle access from Hawk Rise, that would have added green credentials and ticked a few more boxes.

Herefordshire Council has missed a trick here: it could have insisted on this 'green' access and slapped a S.106 condition to improve non-motorised access to the site from the rest of Ledbury by requiring the developer to pay for upgrading the Town Trail from the muddy track it has become through over 20 years of neglect.

So what now for this isolated triangle of land? A hotel has been mooted - but that would almost certainly evoke objections from the over-priced hotels already in town.

We can now look forward to the traffic light above Aldi’s entrance being red more often....