FURTHER to the letter from Cllr Watson regarding the ‘Errors in Plan’ (Hereford Times, June 30), I would suggest that notwithstanding specific errors, the whole methodology for determining the locations for rural growth is fundamentally flawed.

RELATED LETTER: Errors in Herefordshire housing plan

The Local Plan will be required to be compliant with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) or it will be found to be unsound.

The current consultation is on the Place Shaping Options

Consultation – Rural Areas, which is informed by the Rural Areas Settlement Hierarchy Background Paper.

Both of these documents are fundamentally flawed.


The latter attempts to assign numerical values to disparate services, facilities etc in each settlement, including 15 points for being connected to mains drainage, and then totalling these for each settlement to produce a hierarchy in terms of sustainability based on their score.

It is not possible to assign absolute values to sustainability.

The allocation of points is arbitrary.

The methodology cannot be used to ‘rank’ settlements but it can suggest that high scoring settlements are likely to be sustainable and that low scoring settlements are likely not to be sustainable.

It is essential to adopt a holistic view and look at the totality of services, facilities and infrastructure within each settlement or readily accessible from it.

Many of the settlements identified for growth can not be

described as sustainable, they are the ‘least unsustainable’.

The whole exercise appears to be aimed at maximising the level of growth in the rural areas as this is where house builders wish to build as most profitable.

As pointed out in a previous letter this is where housing is ‘desired’ and more likely to be deliverable if targets are imposed.

It is not where it is needed.

Substantial development in rural settlements will not meet the needs of the area, will not align growth and infrastructure and will not improve the rural environment.



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