Rejected houses on the site of the former football field

A bid for new homes on a derelict sports pavilion and former football ground in the Wye Valley AONB was rejected on appeal.

The Planning Inspector ruled that new housing on the property adjacent to Howle Hill Nursery “would significantly detract from the character and rural setting of the site and surrounding area and would not preserve or enhance the natural beauty of the AONB”.

The neighboring nursery itself was the scene of a recent planning battle in which Hampton Court Gold Medalist gardener Peter Dowle won a tender for eight ‘contemporary’ houses with ‘polytunnel style’ roofs last year.

Tara Barnett, from Ross-on-Wye, applied for ‘principle approval’ for up to two houses on the pavilion site once occupied by Howle Hill FC.

However, Herefordshire Council rejected the scheme last year on the grounds that it constituted unauthorized rural development and could harm the AONB’s landscape and natural beauty.

Wye Valley Society’s Virginia Morgan also told planners that the grassland is at the top of the village and has “no services”, “poor views” and no sewerage.

“It is outside the built-up area of ​​Howle Hill … (and) within the Wye Valley AONB and is therefore protected,” she said, while the company “strongly disagreed” with the claim that it was part of the existing settlement and a derelict site. site.

Walford Parish Council also disagreed, pointing out that the planning statement incorrectly stated that the site was in the ‘Cotswold AONB’ while the development of the rangeland would have a ‘significantly adverse’ effect on the landscape.

The Appeal to the Planning Inspector claimed the land was “well connected to the main developed area of ​​Howle Hill and the homes it would offer would help meet unmet housing needs”.

It also said the case had been supported by the successful kindergarten appeal and the approval of another neighboring building application for four houses, and claimed it was a “sustainable development”.

The appeal also alleged that the council “misjudged that the site was greenfield vacant land, when in fact the appeal proposals would provide an opportunity to rehabilitate a previously developed site of poor appearance.” .

But planning inspector Helen Davies disagreed, saying the “modest, mostly wooden” derelict pavilion in the corner occupied a small portion of the site and did not contribute to the development of the field.

Building homes on it would “disrupt the existing field pattern” and “significantly diminish the rural qualities of the area,” she judged.

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