HEREFORDSHIRE Council will not defend its decision to reject plans for 625 homes in Ledbury.

The planning committee turned down the Bloor Homes plans for land north of the viaduct over access concerns in December.

Initial consultations for the site had included two road accesses to the site with one going under the railway viaduct.

However, the final proposals included just a single access onto the Bromyard road.

More than 1,000 people, who took part in a poll, agreed that a second access onto the Hereford road was needed, this view is supported by town council and nearby Wellington Heath parish council — and the planning committee agreed.

Bloor representatives claimed that building a new road under the arches of the 19th-century grade II listed railway viaduct would pose a health and safety risk.

They also said their plans would improve the Bromyard Road, Hereford Road, and The Homend junction with a pedestrian-controlled crossing and upgraded layout for lorries to manoeuvre.

However, the committee rejected the scheme by 10 votes to three with one abstention.

Bloor Homes then appealed this decision and now a planning inquiry is expected to rule on the decision.

But the county council is withdrawing its reasons for refusal to limit the costs they may incur for defending and losing the case.

Council solicitor Claire Ward said: “Pursuing the defence of the reasons for refusal by the council could be seen as unreasonable given there is no technical evidence to support the grounds for refusal.

“Regrettably, the legal advice of the solicitor to the council and monitoring officer is to withdraw the ‘reasons for refusal’ given by the planning committee on December 11 to both mitigate the reputational damage to the council and to limit the significant costs that the council could incur.”

Ledbury Town Council intends to defend the appeal and will discuss the issue further at a meeting on March 5.