A plan to build 24 new houses alongside a Herefordshire village has been approved, four years after it was first put forward.

The bid by Bell Homes of Gloucestershire to create the estate south of Sutton St Nicholas appears to have been held up while a so-called section 106 arrangement, under which a developer undertakes to fund wider community improvements, was concluded.

This will now take the form of a £72,600 payment to Sutton St Nicholas Primary School, and £28,400 to provide a children’s play area in the village and other open space, and £53,000 for road narrowing and other transport impovements in the immediate area, according to a new agreement between Bell and Herefordshire Council.


The scheme also needed to demonstrate “nutrient neutrality” – that is, it would not add to the problem of nutrients, specifically phosphates, entering the protected river Lugg.

This has now been achieved with Bell agreeing to buy “phosphate credits” worth nearly £60,000 from an offsetting scheme recently introduced by Herefordshire Council. Government agency Natural England has said it considers the development acceptable on this basis.

Due to the scale of the development, eight of the 24 are to be classed as affordable housing, at rate of 32 per cent of open-market value for the four two-bedroom homes, and at 35 per cent for the remaining three-bedroom homes, for those with a local connection unable to afford market rates.


The houses will mostly be of two storeys but will include bungalows suitable for those of limited mobility.

The scheme “will provide choice for the marketplace and, in increasing supply, will help to minimise house prices” a statement with the application says.

What are your thoughts?

You can send a letter to the editor to have your say by clicking here.

Letters should not exceed 250 words and local issues take precedence.

“The approach to design and appearance is reminiscent of that approved by the council on Bell Homes’ sites at Bodenham and Lugwardine,” it adds.

The 1.7-hectare (4.2-acre) stretch of open country south of Woodville Grove was allocated for housebuilding in the village’s neighbourhood development plan.

There were no official objections to the proposal. Three individual letters of objection were submitted, highlighting potential flood risk at the site – a view repudiated in a flood risk assessment supplied with the application – and loss of wildlife habitat.