A plan for three houses by a south Herefordshire village has been rejected by a Government-appointed inspector.

The bid for outline permission submitted by local resident David Jordan was for a “cluster” of one four-bedroom and two three-bedroom detached houses, reduced from an earlier five, set back from Church Lane, Howle Hill south of Ross-on-Wye.

Nearly 100 objections were submitted, though some objectors did so multiple times.

Walford Parish Council said the density of the proposed development “would be completely out of keeping” with the “hamlet” of Howle Hill.


“The services and amenities that qualified Howle Hill as a settlement no longer exist and have long since been turned into private dwellings e.g. the pub and church,” the parish council added.

Herefordshire Council’s planning committee backed a recommendation to refuse the scheme last August, saying the site was in open countryside just outside the proposed village boundary, and “is not well related to the main built-up form of Howle Hill”.

Future residents would also be dependent on cars for transport, making it “an unsustainable form of development”, the council added.

Mr Jordan appealed the decision, claiming the council had given too much weight in its decision to the village boundary proposed in the Walford neighbourhood development plan (NDP), which was “emerging” and had not yet been adopted at the time.

But the NDP has since been backed by local voters in a referendum held to coincide with local elections on May 4.

And now planning inspector Rachel Hall has agreed with the council that the proposed location of houses “is not acceptable, [given their effect] on the character and appearance of the surrounding countryside”.

She did not agree with the council’s claim of unsustainability, noting that national planning policy “supports housing in rural areas where it would enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities”.

But this “should not be at the expense of ensuring that the development is capable of being appropriately designed and integrated suitably with its surroundings”, she concluded.

Ms Hill also refused Mr Jordan’s bid for an award of the appeal costs against the council.