A DEVELOPER has re-submitted plans for 321 new homes to the south of Ledbury, just seven days after an earlier application, for the same number of houses, was refused by Herefordshire Council.

Gladman Developments Ltd, the company seeking outline planning permission for an estate to the south of Leadon Way, off the bypass, maintains that the new housing would make "a significant contribution towards meeting the housing needs of the district, and will provide much needed affordable housing" and permission should be granted "in accordance with the presumption in favour of sustainable development".

Herefordshire Council refused the original application, on March 20, on the grounds that the new estate would have an "unduly suburbanising effect" and would be seen from beauty spots including Marcle Ridge and the Malvern Hills area of outstanding natural beauty.

The council also believed that the development would be "premature and prejudicial to the development of the strategic housing land allocated on land to the north of the viaduct."

This is a reference to the council's Core Strategy, its planning blueprint for the next 20 years, which identifies north of the viaduct for 700 new homes. But the new planning blueprint is still to be adopted, and Gladman believes time has run out for the council's older planning policies.

Some local councillors are now fearing overdevelopment, because of a "limbo" situation in planning policies for the county, because regulations which might limit development are either still unadopted or potentially out of date.

Ledbury's mayor, Cllr Bob Barnes, responding to the latest application said: "I do object, personally, as the houses would be in addition to the houses earmarked in Core Strategy, and I do not believe the town requires that number of houses."

Herefordshire councillor for Ledbury, Cllr Phill Bettington said: "I think it is overdevelopment of the town, when we have Core Strategy coming up; but I am told it is an open mine field at the moment, and we are in limbo."

Gladman states in its application that the old planning blueprint for the county, the Unitary Development Plan, only covers the years 1996 to 2011, and so its policies, which would restrict the development of the green field site "are therefore now substantially beyond the period they were meant to apply and are out-of-date".

The latest application would lead to 321 houses, including 35 per cent affordable housing, an open space, children's play area and vehicular access to the north of the site.

The new application states: "The proposed development has been carefully considered to ensure that it will consist of a high quality sustainable development. The design-led approach responds sensitively to the site setting, respecting the grain of the surrounding landscape, both built and undeveloped. The development will be a positive addition to Ledbury complementing the character of the surrounding area in terms of scale, density, character and quality."