A Herefordshire town risks letting developers decide what form hundreds of new houses planned for it will take, a local councillor has warned.

Coun Ed O’Driscoll, Liberal Democrat ward member for Ross East and former town mayor, leafleted households in the town urging them to respond to the draft local plan, which will set out what should be built where in Herefordshire between now and 2041.

As it stands, Ross-on-Wye is due to get 1,800 new homes under the plan, of which 1,000 will be on a single parcel of farmland to the east of the town and south of the M50 roundabout.

Hereford Times: The 'Land to the east of Ross' site where the bulk of the 1,800 new houses planned for the town would be builtThe 'Land to the east of Ross' site where the bulk of the 1,800 new houses planned for the town would be built (Image: Herefordshire Council)

This “is obviously a major concern”, Coun O’Driscoll’s leaflet says.

While 35 per cent of the new houses are to be classed as “affordable”, this should instead be set as “social” housing, to help younger residents who “can’t get on the property ladder”, coupled with new infrastructure for the town including a new health centre, he urges.


“What I don’t want to see is 1,800 detached four-bedroom homes for commuters working in Bristol or Cheltenham,” he adds.

He explained there was in the town “an acceptance that new housing is needed, though not as much as is planned”, but also “huge concern about the supporting infrastructure”.

With a concurrent plan now under way to develop the adjacent Model Farm site as employment land, the town needs to ensure it can keep hold of its young people, rather than risk becoming “an ageing dormitory town”, Coun O’Driscoll said.

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Herefordshire’s controlling Conservative minority “needs to be aware there are grave concerns about this, even among Conservative voters”, he added.

He hoped the campaign, backed by the town’s two other LibDem ward councillors, Chris Bartrum and Louis Stark, “will let us show there is a groundswell of opinion, to balance the view of developers”.


“Right now there are just 17 social housing units coming onto the market,” he explained.

“We shouldn’t just be dancing to the tune of developers, who can make a shedload of money from this.”

Comments on the draft local plan can still be made online via hlp.commonplace.is until May 20.