Northern Expansion Holmer

Last week I attended the start of a three week Core Strategy hearing process at Hedley Lodge, Belmont.  Below is the report which I presented on 12th February 2015 to the inspector on behalf of residents and Holmer Parish Council on the proposal for around 500 new homes, 350 space park and ride and northern relief road on the Holmer West Site.

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“It was disappointing to note that at the hearing  Bloor Homes announced they will be submitting a planning application this month, ahead of the outcome of the public inquiry, and this is despite requests from the council not to do so.    

During the Unitary Development Plan inquiry, the council vehemently defended the Holmer West site because of the impact on Holmer Church, flooding issues, lack of infrastructure and landscape issues. The Inspector ruled that this site was not suitable for development.    Nothing has changed since then so why now is the council saying this is suitable for development – it does not make sense!


Any development would have a detrimental effect upon the landscape, its vistas of Hereford City and more importantly on the setting of Holmer Church and Holmer House (listed buildings) that lie to the east, which should be preserved and protected. Evidence has also shown that earthworks indicate the presence of medieval settlements which should remain unearthed.

The area is a principal settled farmland and extensively cultivated as a working farm for many years and remains so today. Good quality land, Grade 2 and 3a.   The site has a high value to the west, north and east, of high to medium sensivity, and will be vulnerable to change.

Severe sewerage constraints, due to hydraulic overloading of the public sewerage network, with no regulatory improvements planned within the current 5 year capital investment programme.   With 462 homes being built and with significant sewerage problems, the sewerage situation will get worse.   We are already seeing this with the ongoing sewerage problems on the Roman Road and we still have more housing at Attwood Lane to be built, 13 at Churchway and now 52 more at Holmer East.    

Water pressure is low in the area and further development will only exacerbate these services.  We are already seeing ongoing low water pressure problems above the site at Lyde.

There has always been a history of flooding problems in the area which is a partial  Zone 3 risk in the low lying fields to the south and to sections of the road A4103 opposite the racecourse entrance.

A new junction will be created on the A4103 which will add to the traffic problems in the area and with the history of accidents at Kempton Avenue, major highway improvements will need to be made.   The site would generate high levels of car use due to is location being on the outskirts of the city where primary and secondary schools as well as access to employment are not easily reached unless by a vehicle.  A planned Park and Road on part of the northern expansion area alongside the A49 still relies on the use of the car from this site.   The proposed road through the site would create another rat run which will impact on residents.

This is not a sustainable site, its planned approach would be detrimental to the transport network, landscape sensitivity, Heritage assets and infrastructure, thus is contrary to the Core Strategy Objectives 2, 4, 10, 11 and 12, pages 24-26.”


There was then a long discussion regarding the park and ride proposals, lack of employment sites to service the housing and the major constraints of the site.   During the hearing sessions there has been a debate over the deliverability and costs of the Hereford Relief Road.

I attended the debate today on housing in rural areas which included a discussion on villages where housing development will be restricted to market homes that meets the needs of people with local connections or affordable housing.   Included in the list of villages were Munstone and Shelwick.   However, the inspector raised concerns over the wording of the rural policies, the outcome of which is  council  officers have been asked to re-look at the wording of these policies.  We ran out of time today discussing development in rural areas and consequently further debate on this topic will take place next week.

Cllr Sally Robertson

Burghill, Holmer & Lyde Ward

18th February 2015

Northern Expansion Holmer

PC’s Planning Committee Statement 11th Feb

The Minutes for January 12th 2015 are now available online – Please *Click Here*


Cllr Sally Robertson has written a short article on the CORE STRATEGY which will shape Herefordshire’s future development. She explains how it will balance environmental issues with economic and social needs. What does it mean for Holmer Parish and there is a link to download the Herefordshire Local Plan Core Strategy 2011 – 2031.
*Click Here* to find out more.

The Planning Committee Statement

At the Planning Committee councilor Mark Millmore made a statement on behalf of the parish council. Only three minutes are allowed for each speaker and the general consensus was that the application would be approved (which it was). Therefore, the emphasis of the statement was placed on influencing the implementation of the application. Cllr Sally Robertson will now work vigorously with the developers to ensure that the Parish’s concerns are met and we get the best possible outcome.

Here is a transcript of the PC’s Planning Committee Statement 11th Feb

“The parish council have a number of concerns relating the application 141487 Land to the East of the A49 – Holmer proposed erection of 52 residential dwellings.

1. The density of the planned development has a detrimental impact on the view of three listed buildings in the area including the grade I listed Church of St Bartholomew and its Bell Tower. The view of the church will also be lost from a prominent footpath.

2. The development is too close to the burial ground. When Crest obtained their consent for the Furlongs on Roman Road they agreed, as part of the Section 106 monies, to give the Parish £15,000 to extend the burial ground. However, due to the physical constraints of the A49 on the Western boundary, a pond to the North and a high pressure network water main to the East, the burial ground can only be extended to the South. But Crest has made no provision for this in their plan. Therefore, there is no possibility to extend the burial ground at all.

3. Access into the site will branch out from the A49 on a bend which is within a national speed limit zone so there are safety concerns. For example there appears to be no request to lengthen the current 30mph speed limit, farther north beyond the entrance to the site, to give traffic time to slow down.

Given the state of the narrow pavements, lack of street lighting and high traffic speeds there is a substantial risk to the increased pedestrian population, which will be walking along the A49 back and forth from Andrews shop and the Starting Gate pub.

Furthermore, visitors to the cemetery and funeral processions have to cross the A49 from the church to gain access. A parking bay on the east side of the A49, as part of the southern extension to burial ground, would enhance safety and be a benefit to the community.

4. The entire proposal lacks attention to detail. It appears to have been designed in isolation with no sympathy for the existing local environment of housing set in rural farming countryside populated with wildlife and live stock. The density of the development is too high and will not sit comfortably within the community – a smaller development could be made to work.”

Parish Council Meeting 9th February 2015

First of all we welcome two new councilors Alan Peel and Neil Jenkins.

We agreed to allow some advertising that is relevant to local people on the website. Because we’re not allowed to make a profit we will divide the annual £150 cost of the website between advertisers. If your business is within or near the parish please contact us for details. charities will get free advertising.

We discussed dog fouling, which has generated some complaints from parishioners but, because we lacked detailed information, were unable to make a meaningful plan of action.

So we need your help: Where are the most odious areas of street pooping – for example we know Church Way is a hazard to nocturnal foot traffic and that some wayward dog owners are using the salt bins as poop bins (this has had dire consequences during the spreading of salt across the roads on icy days).

So if you see an offending item on the pavement please let us know and give its location. In this way we can build a poop minefield map. Please *Click Here* and make your report on the Your Comments page.

We also looked at the Munstone Road Speed limit issue but, unlike the Attwood Lane/ Church Way Rat Run, we do not have enough feedback from parishioners for us to make a credible argument.
So if this is a concern to you please make you comments on the Your Comments page.

AGENDA for Meeting February 9th

Attwood Lane/Churchway

Today, 6th February, Cllr Sally Robertson is meeting with the Director for Economy, Communities and Corporate, Geoff Hughes, to discuss the section 106 monies from the developments in Attwood Lane/Churchway.

Accompanying her will be parish councillors, Marc Mohan and John Phipps, and the outcome of the meeting will be reported at the parish council meeting on Monday, 9th February 7 pm Holmer Parish Centre.

The aim of the meeting is to find out exactly what is happening with the highway contributions from the various developments, in particular traffic calming measures to deter drivers using Attwood Lane/Churchway as a rat run.


AGENDA for Meeting February 9th

Councillors are summoned to a meeting on February 9th 2015 at 7pm in HOLMER Parish Centre


2. Co-Option of Neil Jenkins and Alan Peel
3. DECLARATIONS of INTEREST and written requests for Disclosable Pecuniary Interest dispensations
4. Request for dispensation
5. To consider and adopt the minutes from the meeting 12th January2015
6. Public participation (10 mins)
7. Finance
• Clerks salary as agreed by the Parish Council
• Holmer Parish centre room hire £64.00
• SLCC membership renewal £101.00
8. Planning
• P150112 New Grove Roman Rd Variation of condition 2 of planning permission
• P150025 Elm House Coldwells Rd, Holmer, Hereford. Proposed extension.
• P143563 Land at the Cottage, Orchard close, Holmer, Hereford. Proposed erection of one dwelling.
• P143744 Greenway Roman Rd Hereford. Proposed extension for new living room, dining, kitchen, bedrooms with en-suite and swimming pool area.
• P141870 Land east of A49.
9. Planning update
10. Footpath officer update
11. Police report
12. Church way and Attwood Lane 106 Monies
13. Burial Ground update.
14. Advertising on the website
15. Dog Fouling
16. Bus Stop at the furlongs
17. Munstone Rd Speed limit.
18. Report by Ward Councillor Sally Robertson
19. Community led plan
20. Clerks update and correspondence
21. Items for next agenda
22. Date of next meeting 9th March

BUDGET 2015/2016

Council Budget 2015/2016 – Every year Herefordshire Council has a legal obligation to set a balanced budget, the 2015/2016 budget being presented to Council this Friday 6th February 2015 and also includes the setting of the council tax.

Higher than a 1.9 per cent council tax rise, would trigger a public referendum which would incur a significant cost to the council.

All local authorities are reducing services as the Government continues to substantially reduce the funding it provides to local government. Consequently, Herefordshire Council has to save £33 million up to 2016/2017.

In addition the demand for services has grown and the Council has had to provide care for more people, particularly in essential areas such as children’s safeguarding and adult social care.

The Council has consistently argued that the costs associated with delivering services in rural areas are not adequately funded through the current national formula. Herefordshire is the most sparsely populated county in England with residents dispersed across its 842 square miles.

Cllr Sally Robertson

Burghill, Holmer & Lyde Ward

Tel: 01432 769459, Email – *Click Here*