A Herefordshire farmer’s bid to build a new three-bedroom home for his family has been refused for a second time, despite drawing much local support.

Stephen Rogers of Foxhalls Farm near Much Marcle was originally refused permission for the house at a Herefordshire Council planning committee meeting back in March, in line with planning officer Simon Rowles’ recommendation.

At the time Mr Rowles appeared to hold out the possibility of a revised plan for the house being accepted, but urged that it be moved to a less prominent spot.


A new bid has since been submitted, with a landscaping scheme, changes to the façade of the house, and the garage moved – though its contentious location on Marcle Ridge remained the same.

This drew 15 letters of public support for the proposal, for none against, with some pointing to a 2021 survey showing the Sollers Hope area as having the highest property prices in Herefordshire.

“As the area is now becoming an enclave for older residents, any development that would provide accommodation for younger working families should be supported,” Much Marcle resident Andrew Wilson said.


David Francis said the Rogers were “a fine young couple, [whose] family have done much to retain the beauty of the valley”. And Stuart Donachie said the house “will have minimal visual impact, certainly relative to the neighbouring mast”.

But Herefordshire Wildlife Trust pointed out that the proposed spot is part of a designated local wildlife site, which it said the development would harm.

And the council’s senior landscape officer said the new landscaping “does not go far enough” to address the scheme’s visual impact, and continued to object to its location near a long-distance public footpath.

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She went so far as to propose three alternative spots nearer to the main Foxhalls Farm which would have “a lower visual impact, and be more in keeping” with existing buildings, and offer better access to them.

Local ward councillor Barry Durkin asked for the case to be brought back to the planning committee to decide, however Mr Rowles declined this.

But “there is a way forward if the applicant is willing to reconsider the site location”, he concluded.