Church and council officials “attacked each other with unnecessary and inflammatory language” in a long-running planning battle to build up to 18 houses in a Herefordshire village, which will now go ahead.

The Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance, of which the Bishop of Hereford Richard Jackson is a director, applied for outline planning permission in October 2019 to develop its Glebe Lands site on the eastern edge of Eardisley, near Kington.

The application had stalled on a wrangle over payments the board would have to make to local services as a condition of having its scheme approved.

Herefordshire Council did not set out its position on these within the statutory time limit, a government planning inspector has ruled.

The three-acre greenfield site is allocated for housing within the Eardisley neighbourhood development plan, and the village is one of those identified in the county plan as being suitable for proportionate housing development.

Indeed, the council did not object in principle to the scheme, the inspector said.

He sided with the council’s eventual insistence that the board pay just under £12,000 to the local NHS trust for hospital provision.

Otherwise “there would be an unacceptable strain placed on healthcare services arising from the population increase from the proposed development,” he said.


The board also applied against Herefordshire Council for an award of costs of the appeal, citing its “unreasonable behaviour”, but this was refused.

The board would have been quicker to work with the council to revise the decision schedule rather than go to a full official appeal, the inspector concluded.

“Instead, both parties chose to dig their heels in and proceeded to use unnecessary and somewhat inflammatory language in attacking each other’s cases, in what appeared to border on fits of pique,” he said.

“I found all this just created unnecessary tension and delays.”

The scheme will be of “high quality and low density”, with a mix of homes types, six of them to be sold at affordable rates, the application says.

It will also provide the village with new green space linked to existing footpaths.

Details of the houses themselves will come forward in a later application.