Herefordshire Council Planning Policy Manager, Peter Yates, has told Ledbury councilors to expect a halving of Ledbury's growth with 40 new dwellings to be built each year over the next 20 years:
"The Council's current policies are set out in the Unitary Development Plan (UDP) - and cannot be changed until the full Council says so. The UDP needs updating and there were two rounds of consultation last year which set out suggested approaches for Ledbury. In line with public comments the figure most recently proposed was an average of 40 dwellings per year over a twenty year period (total = 800) which compares with around 70 per year over the last 15 years. Thus, the latest Council published proposal represents almost halving the rate of growth of Ledbury."
Mr Yates warned councilors that this slow growth may impact negatively on the economy:
"Such a dramatic drop in the levels of growth represents a risk of economic slow down, and does imply a significantly reduced level of growth of the population. However, for Ledbury to continue to function as a market town and centre of service provision some growth is essential.
"The high quality of environment around and within the town is a major constraint and has added to the pressure for such a dramatic drop in the rate of growth of the town."
Mr Yates told the council that the Regional Plan had not yet been abandoned and that the plan should not impact upon Ledbury:
"The regional plan sought to focus most strategic growth in the major conurbations of the West Midlands (i.e. Birmingham, Coventry etc.) - with the "Shire Counties" such as Herefordshire catering for their own local needs only. Thus whatever Ledbury's local needs are then the Regional Plan did not impose any extra growth on them."
Mr Yates also told council that "the number of houses to be built on the "Viaduct site" has yet to be determined... [and had] yet to be considered by full Council."
Editor: Mr Yates made no reference to Ledbury's infrastructure, facilities or retail space.