Lists have been published of the smaller settlements in Herefordshire likely to be the focus for new rural housing over the coming two decades.

The “core strategy”, the cornerstone of planning in the county, is currently being revised.

A public consultation earlier this year found a general desire to concentrate new housing in Hereford and the five market towns. But a further 2,500 homes are due to be built in rural areas between now and 2041.

For these areas, “no clear preferred option emerged” from the consultation, according to a recent Herefordshire Council document explaining the revision process.

But there was “a clear preference for a less dispersed settlement pattern” – that is, for it to be concentrated in fewer settlements than at present.

With public support for avoiding development outside conservation areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) also needing to be factored in, “the preferred strategy for the rural areas will be a hybrid of options”, it says.

But given the document says “there will also be a reduced number of settlements from those current listed within the core strategy,” this appears to already have been determined to a degree.

Anything outside of these settlements would be classified as “open countryside” – “where only limited housing growth would be permitted”, the council explains.

Based on analysis of more than 300 villages and hamlets in the county, the council has proposed two different lists of those it favours to get an average of 50 new houses each over the next 20 years.

Option 1a ranks the county’s 51 villages best suited to new housing based on a basket of factors including local services and facilities, transport access and environmental constraints.

Hereford Times: The 51 "Option 1a" villagesThe 51 "Option 1a" villages

The 51 are:

Option 1b meanwhile lists 50 villages selected on similar criteria, but intended to give a more even spread across the county’s seven “housing market areas” (HMAs).


Hereford Times: The 'Option 1b' villagesThe 'Option 1b' villages

The 50 are:


But the whole approach was recently criticised by Eardisland parish councillor Merry Albright, who also chairs the Herefordshire Construction Industry Lobby Group.

She said as Eardisland appears on neither list, “it writes us off for the next generation, when we have so much to offer”.

Also, “It puts a lot of pressure on those (villages on the list) which have already provided a significant amount of housing,” she said.