STANDING UP FOR THE COUNTRYSIDE

Herefordshire Planning Policies

The Herefordshire Core Strategy, which was adopted in October 2015, sets out the overall vision, objectives and spatial strategy for the County.

Hereford Area Plan & Local Transport Plan: HCPRE response to consultation

Consultation on the Hereford Area Plan (HAP) and Hereford Transport Package (HTP) took place in April and May 2017.

The Hereford Transport Plan HTP contains two main elements:

  • A western bypass, whose exact route is still undetermined and which Herefordshire Council hopes will support the delivery of 6,500 new homes & 6,000 new jobs.
  • Walking, cycling and public transport improvements.

HCPRE’s stance on the proposed western by-pass was reiterated in our consultation response. Our main objection is that the case for this road has not been shown; a large proportion of the traffic in Hereford that causes hold ups is generated from local journeys.

Also, there is a lack of connectivity for efficient journeys where cycle lanes don’t join up in a satisfactory way, or where obvious routes to walk, cycle, or bus between key destinations are missing.

Lower-cost sustainable transport options should be tried before very expensive new road options. Measures that prioritise cars are not sustainable.

Hereford Area Plan

The HAP sets out detailed proposals for Hereford City. Our response to the consultation included the following key points:

Hereford’s unique setting must be preserved to avoid the townscape spilling out into the surrounding landscape by including policies for:

  • Protection of views into and from the city which are a particular feature of its setting.
  • Providing a clear distinction between urban and green space.
  • Providing a green ‘lung’ around the whole urban area and not just to the east where the Lugg Meadows perform this function.
  • Respecting the agricultural value of top grade soils, (the majority of the land on the western side of the city is nearly all grade one).
  • A ‘brownfield first, greenfield last’ approach – to protect the countryside and regenerate urban areas. This should include all previously developed land and not just formally defined brownfield areas.
  • There is an urgent need to produce an adequate supply of affordable housing to meet the documented requirement.
  • Policies are needed to minimise pollution from land use.

Runoff from agricultural land and from hard surfaces (roads, car parks etc.) must be prevented from reaching water courses, such as Yazor brook and Widemarsh Brook, and they should be monitored with a Nutrient Management Plan  in a similar way as that for the Rivers Wye and Lugg.

If thousands of new homes are built, then even if active and sustainable travel measures succeed, the net level of pollution in Hereford city is likely to increase.

Housing Land Supply (HLS) and the Local Plan

The National Planning Policy Framework specified that each Local Authority had to have a 5 year HLS to encompass growth. Herefordshire Council has been trying to meet this obligation but the lack of HLS has contributed to speculative, including some that are large- scale, housing proposals; if they are not allowed developers can appeal against Herefordshire Council’s decisions and if successful cost are awarded against the Council, in effect, all ratepayers.

Apart from two Areas of Outstanding Beauty (AONBs) in the Malverns & the Wye Valley, the majority of Herefordshire's countryside is unprotected by designations. We have no Green Belt around Hereford city. This situation leaves the county wide open to applications for all sorts of development.

CPRE is concerned that some of the Policies now in the Core Strategy weaken the ability to control developers and to safe-guard the countryside and the amenity of local residents.

NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) 'The Developer's Charter'

Published in 2012 the NPPF was the largest shake up to national planning policy in decades. This document cites a presumption in favour of ‘sustainable development’, although it does not clearly define the term.

Some people consider that it is in effect a developer’s charter.

CPRE has long been concerned that this situation could lead to a Local Planning Authority (LPA) accepting proposals they might have refused, in order to avoid costs in an appeal.

Links to CPRE Herefordshire responses to consultation documents