A Herefordshire village pub has finally been given permission to build five houses alongside.

A Mr Corbin of the Cross Keys Inn, Withington Marsh northeast of Hereford applied in 2019 to build on two patches of grassland to the north and east of the pub.

Two semi-detached two-bedroom homes were to go on the smaller plot off the A465 to the north, and two of three bedrooms and one of four off The Stallenge to the east, each with its own package sewerage treatment plant.


The only objection came from neighbours Wendy and Peter Spicer, who said the “large” new houses of modern brick would be out of keeping with those already along The Stallenge, while the work to old trees and hedges would harm wildlife.

But planning officer Peter McEvoy considered the houses’ design was “acceptable in visual amenity terms”, while the council’s ecology officer has not identified any protected species likely to be affected.


The hold-up came from the need for all new developments in the catchment of the protected river Lugg to demonstrate “nutrient neutrality” – that is, to show they would not add to water pollution, specifically phosphates, entering the wider river system.

In this case the problem has been resolved by obliging the developer to buy “phosphate credits” from the council, which support environmental measures around the county’s sewerage treatment plants.

Base on a calculated 580 grams (1.28 lb) of phosphate generated a year from the scheme, Mr Corbin must buy credits worth £8,120 before it can go ahead, Mr McEvoy explained.