THE first urban expansion outlined in Herefordshire Council’s local plan has been given the go ahead.

And the road through the Holmer development will act as a ‘mini’ relief road to take pressure off the busy Starting Gate roundabout, a council committee heard.

Bloor Homes Ltd was given outline permission to build up to 460 new homes on land north of Roman Road and west of the A49.

The site is allocated for residential development within the council’s local plan – Core Strategy – as the smallest of the three urban extensions to Hereford and is known as Holmer West.

Members of the council’s planning committee heard last week that Holmer and Shelwick Parish Council’s concerns regarding transport and provision for community facilities at the site were supported by Hereford City Council.

There were fears, the committee heard, that the proposed road through the development site could become a ‘rat run’ for traffic cutting across to the west.

A relatively low number of objections were submitted, the committee heard, and overall officers considered it to be ‘well-conceived’ and capable of delivering the high-quality sustainable development envisaged in the Core Strategy.

Cllr Felicity Norman said she believed a comprehensive travel plan should be developed before any work started.

“The idea that this will be a through road seems to be an incredibly bad move,” she said, adding that the development could impact water systems and phosphate levels.

The scheme is designed to deliver benefits to the pedestrian and cycling facilities, the committee heard, and also included plans for affordable housing, public open space, a park and choose facility, with associated landscaping, access, and drainage.

Members also questioned the impact the scheme could have on health services and schools.

Fourteen members voted in favour of approving the scheme, one was against and two abstained.