Herefordshire Council’s growth plans for the county, which include 16,500 homes and a ‘western relief road’ around Hereford City, could be in serious trouble after the Greater Norwich Development Partnership 15 year growth plans were rejected after a judicial review in the High Court last week.
The plan in Norfolk was to build 37,000 new houses along with a ‘Northern Distributor Road’. It was deemed “unlawful” by the High Court ruling on two accounts:-
1. that alternatives to the plan for growth had not been properly explored or explained;
2. the northern distributor road, a ‘fundamental’ part of the plan, had not been fully environmentally assessed.
These are two of the key arguments that Here for Hereford and local councillors are campaigning on against the markedly similar plan still being developed by Herefordshire Council.
Here for Hereford sponsored the Metropolitan Transport Research unit (MTRU) to report on the future transport plans for Hereford. The report’s author, Keith Buchan said:
‘It is surprising that there has so far been no published test of a sustainable package with no Relief Road”
(The full report and the press release to this report can be seen here click on this link )
With the proposed developments set to threaten the river Wye, a European protected river, it is highly possible that any damage to the river or wildlife could lead to a European court case costing Herefordshire taxpayers millions on top of the £1.5 million already spent just on drawing up these flawed plans.
Hopefully this High Court judgement will encourage Herefordshire Council to listen to local people as well as Government advisors, other organisations all concerned about the Core Strategy proposals being overly reliant on a Relief Road and failing to offer a ‘Plan B’ alternative. The Council could be left in the same situation as Norwich today, where the councillors there are now concerned that by having their plans sent back to the drawing board a “free for all” for property developers could occur in the planning vacuum.
Herefordshire Council have excellent opportunities to improve public transport and school bus services to reduce congestion and work on resolving the problems any growth in Hereford might face such as lack of water, sewerage capacity and other infrastructure problems. The local planners should be looking at building local, sustainable housing, for local people on brownfield and windfall sites such as ESG, Whitecross High School and other derelict areas around Widemarsh Common, to name but a few.
To read further articles on the Norwich Ruling please go to http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/high_court_ruling_throws_plan_for_37_000_homes_in_norfolk_into_doubt_1_1219831
By Thomas Allen