A PUBLIC exhibition about a major new housing estate to the north of Ledbury viaduct will take place soon, as part of the consultation process.

Developer Bloor Homes will host the exhibition on Tuesday, May 10, from 2pm to 8pm, at Ledbury's Market Theatre.

Under Herefordshire's Council's planning blueprint for the next two decades, the Core Strategy, the land is earmarked for 625 new homes, and Bloor Homes wants to build them, although it is yet to submit a planning application.

Ledbury's mayor, Cllr Annette Crowe, has welcomed the start of the consultation process, while expressing concerns that the housing estate, according to her understanding, would have only one access point, off and on the Bromyard Road.

She said: "I welcome the start of the consultation; a lot of Ledbury people will be keen to see what Bloor have planned. It's been a long time coming. My main concern is, what do you do about access? What happens to emergency vehicles when they have to get to that site at 5pm, during rush hour?"

Cllr Crowe pointed out that there are already traffic "snarl-ups" under the low railway bridge, at the Bromyard Road and Hereford Road junction, especially at the busiest times of day.

Bloor representatives recently addressed Ledbury Town Council about the developer's ideas for the new estate.

Guy Wakefield of Hunter Page Planning and Nick Rawlings, planning director of Bloor Homes Western, revealed that under the adopted policy for the site, the Core Strategy, there was a requirement for a restored section of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Canal to pass through. Talks had already opened with the Canal trust in charge of the canal's restoration.

Bloor plans to submit an outline planning application for phased development, in the hope that, with full planning permission gained shortly afterwards, the first phase of house building can commence within six months from the outset.

The idea is to build between 50 and 100 new homes each year, subject to sales, and to complete the site within six to seven years.

The development could include a second primary school for Ledbury, to cope with a rise in the town's population.

The town council has expressed concern about the proximity of industrial units and a busy road to the proposed new development.

A noise survey will "determine how close the properties would be to a noise source".

Bloor also said that a traffic assessment would be carried out "including traffic movements around the area and junctions in the vicinity".

This includes the junction at the railway bridge, of which Cllr Crowe has expressed her concerns.

The development, if approved, would include 40 per cent affordable housing.

The new estate would be in addition to the 321 new homes to the south of Ledbury, which Gladman Developments Ltd has already gained planning permission, following an appeal.