Despite serious opposition from Weobley Parish Council (WPC) and some 125 letters of complaint, the Planning Department last month approved outline planning permission for 50 more houses at Pepper Plock Ley in Weobley.

Weobley should not be accused crying ‘NIMBY’; more, we say, ‘Slow down for goodness sake!’ Herefordshire’s 2011-2031 Local Plan Core Strategy period gives a ‘minimum requirement’ of 83 new houses in Weobley by 2031, but these 50 new houses would be in addition to the 39 now being built in Gadbridge Road and, with other recent completions and approvals, by 2021 the village could have another 135 new houses.

The very aspects that make Weobley ‘attractive’ to the planners are already under significant strain, with some resources already near breaking point.

The roads and streets around and within Weobley are already proving inadequate: and while the majority of new houses have space for one car, similar new houses in the village are already home to two or more.

Traffic and road safety are among the biggest issues in Weobley and, importantly, the only practicable approach to the proposed Pepper Plock Ley site is along a road with both a primary and a high school.

The planners propose wider footpaths to make children’s walk to school safer, but this would narrow the already congested road. Other roads in the village ‘may need widening’, but these pass between listed buildings.

It is difficult to accept that having some 25% more houses in this village is justifiable, necessary or acceptable. Some think that the Planning Committee, urged on by a Government desperate for houses ‘anywhere’, are afraid of the financial consequences of being challenged for refusing any applications, and see Weobley as a convenient and easy ‘target’.

At this rate, Weobley will soon be a town and this may well be inevitable. But it should, surely, be done in a more progressive, staged and reasoned manner.

In 2011 Weobley Village comprised 544 properties, but by 2021 that could well be 679. From any perspective, this ‘tsunami rate of expansion’ is madness.

Kate and Bob Best,