People in Herefordshire are being asked for their views on how different parts of the county should be developed over the next two decades.

One way or another, the county can expect many more homes. Combining the Government’s target figure of 11,100 with new homes already approved takes the number of anticipated homes in the county from the current 82,800 to 100,000 in 20 years’ time.

Where these should go is set out in the local plan for the county, also known in Herefordshire’s case as the “core strategy”, which sets the framework for all planning and development.

Although the current core strategy, adopted in 2015, covers a period until 2031, the Government now encourages councils to revise these every five years or so. The current revision will take the plan period up to 2041.

A “spatial options consultation” with the public at the start of the year, to set the broad outlines of the plan, found most support for focussing development on Hereford and the county’s five market towns.

The current preferred option is for Hereford to get 3,900 new homes over the plan period; Leominster to get 1,700; Ross-on-Wye, 1,500; Bromyard, 650; Ledbury, 600; and Kington, 250, with a further 2,500 allocated to 50 village and rural areas.

Senior planning officer at the council Angela Newey told a recent meeting of town and parish councillors that these figures “are not set in stone at this stage”.

But she explained the numbers are in addition to schemes already given the go-ahead, which gives a total figure for the 20-year period of 17,000 new homes across the county.

Hereford, for example, already has 880 such “commitments”, while 290 new homes have been built in the city over the past year.

“For rural areas, the preferred option was to develop a less dispersed distribution of new development – that is, in fewer settlements than are currently identified,” Ms Newey said.

This preferred option is to cut the number of villages targeted for growth, from the current 118 (with a further 109 listed as “appropriate for housing”), to just 50.


Eardisland parish councillor Merry Albright, who also chairs the Herefordshire Construction Industry Lobby Group, said she was “shocked” by this proposal.

“This will have a huge impact, probably the greatest since the Second World War, on rural areas,” she said.

“Eardisland has been taken out of taken out of the settlement list altogether. I can’t support that.

“It writes us off for the next generation when we have so much to offer – a shop you can walk to, two pubs, a café, workplaces.

“And it puts a lot of pressure on those (villages) which have already provided a significant amount of housing.”

Cabinet member for planning Liz Harvey replied: “No one has made any decisions at this stage.

“Each community will be different. Anyone who is worried about seeing, or not seeing, their village on a list, is entitled to respond to the consultation and say which option they prefer.

“Don't forget that although we are looking at a 20-year plan now, it will get refreshed at least another two times before we get to 2041 – it’s iterative and this is the first iteration.”

On the timing of the process, strategic planning manager Kevin Singleton added: “We will try to have a draft plan in the early part of next year. The previous plan took seven or eight years – we are trying to do this one quicker.”

Weston under Penyard parish councillor Greg White said: “It’s got to stop somewhere. You are already having difficulty in achieving the numbers in the market towns – that will only get worse as the land supply diminishes. I don’t see this is sustainable.”

Mr Singleton replied: “There are no easy sites, and the constraints are likely to get worse. But without a plan you are in a far worse position, as you are more susceptible to speculative development.”

Herefordshire Council is currently conducting a series of information events to residents around the county. Still to come are:

  • Thurs 7 July, 10am-12noon: Bromyard, Country Market
  • Thurs 7 July, 2-4pm: Bartestree, Village Hall
  • Fri 8 July, 10am-12noon: Kington, Market Hall
  • Fri 8 July, 2-4pm: Weobley, Village Hall

Residents can scrutinise proposals and submit their views at . .