COUNTY planners have deferred a scheme to build 625 homes in Ledbury over access concerns.

Bloor Homes want to build a new estate on the 69.4-acre field north of the railway viaduct and to the west of the Bromyard road industrial estate.

The proposals include up to 7.1 acres of employment land, and some 250 of the homes would be affordable. A section of the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire canal would be also reinstated on the site.

But thousands of residents feel the single access to the site from the Bromyard road is unacceptable.

Councillors said an extra road to the site, as originally planned, is needed to access the site under the viaduct from the Hereford road.

Ward councillor Liz Harvey, speaking at today’s (November 13) planning committee meeting, said the town had been steadfast in its opinion over the site.

“Single access isn’t suitable for developments larger than 200 to 300 homes,” she said.

“There are many good things about Bloor’s proposals but this site must be properly connected to Ledbury.

“Requiring that people drive the best part of a mile only to boomerang back into this development doesn’t make sense.

“In order to make this application satisfactory for local residents, access must come primarily under the viaduct.”

Councillor Helen I’Anson said the plans would bring much needed affordable homes to Ledbury and employment land but said the access was bad and there was a risk of flooding.

“Access is the prime problem with this site. The proposed access is too far from the town centre.

“The traffic is a severe problem on that road already.”

Mayor Philip Howells, who spoke at length against the prospect of a single access to the site, said it was madness.

“The town is not against the development, the adopted neighbourhood development plan identifies the site as an allocated one,” he said.

“It does not take a rocket scientist to realise that at least 1,500 extra vehicles from over 625 houses and business units cannot be regarded as satisfactory.

“The road is very narrow, bendy and with no walkable kerbs or verges.

“Single access is a madness.”

He also said it would lead to the lanes through the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty becoming a rat run.

Councillor Mark Millmore proposed deferring the plans for council officers to have further discussions with the developer over the access.

This came after an initial proposal by vice-chairman Alan Seldon to reject the scheme was withdrawn.

The motion to defer was unanimously backed by the committee.