Angry Herefordshire villagers are protesting about the way a planning blueprint affecting their community has been drawn up.

Tensions have been running so high about Callow and Haywood’s neighbourhood development plan (NDP) that a meeting last month was reportedly abandoned when the debate became too heated.

This week 20 locals gathered locals gathered at Callow Village Hall, site of the abandoned meeting, to show their displeasure with signs and placards.

They say the way the NDP was drafted means building plans are skewed to one particular village in the parish, Grafton, and they want this put right.


One protester said that earlier drafts of the NDP made no specific reference to Grafton, but that while the final version contained the change, there was “no audit trail” identifying how it came about.

The text eventually adopted says that “new housing proposals which contribute to the provision of at least seven additional units will be supported in principle within or adjacent to the settlement of Grafton”.

Some protesters claimed this now prevents even minor developments elsewhere in the parish.

Drafting of the NDP began back in 2014, overseen by parish councillor Anthony Priddle and assisted by Kirkwells planning consultants. Both have now asked for inquiries to be directed to the parish clerk, who had not responded by time of publication.

Coun Priddle had attempted to give a prepared statement at the abandoned meeting, but was “continually interrupted”, according to the draft minutes.

Another protester, George Hardy, has since begun an online petition calling for the offending policy to be changed, which has so far gained 58 signatures.

“We have been shut down and ignored,” he wrote on the petition site. “This is an example of an appalling waste of public money and those responsible not wanting to be accountable.”

The wording of the policy is “poorly written, ambiguous and needs clarity”, the petition claims.

An earlier parish council meeting in June agreed a draft “statement of interpretation” to accompany its comments on all planning applications to the county council, which ultimately decides on them.

This says the policy “has caused confusion” but that removing specific reference to Grafton “clarifies this”.

But the appointed clerk Emma Thomas confirmed to the meeting that the NDP drafting process “had been lawfully followed, as the examiner would not have been able to recommend it went to referendum if it had not been”.

Herefordshire Council has since said it “is aware of the concerns raised by the parish council”, but that the wording of the policy “cannot be changed as a result of a parish council meeting only, or by a statement of clarification”.

“There is a recognised review procedure for adopted neighbourhood plans which the parish council have been advised,” it said.