THE final design of a new 16-home estate on a town paddock off a 'rat run' lane has been passed despite local objections.

Butler Wall Homes was given outline permission for its development off Merrivale Lane, Ross-on-Wye in late 2021, but plans for the final design and layout still had to be submitted and approved.

There have been 17 objections to these, mostly from nearby residents.

Outline planning was granted by Herefordshire Council to the Ruth Lilian McQueen Keohane Discretionary Trust, despite fierce opposition from local residents, who claimed it would worsen “diabolical” parking problems on nearby streets.

Many said Merrivale Lane was already “a rat-run”, used by lorries and farm machinery as well as local cars, yet often reduced to a single lane due to parking.

Commenting on the latest designs, Michelle Gartside told Herefordshire planners they were “of no architectural merit”, weren’t sustainable in terms of materials, heating or ventilation, and were not oriented for solar gain.

“It’s hard to understand how a council could permit [such] a development when there are so many green energy targets coming,” she said.

Nearby resident Donna Cooke did not want to lose an “essential small green oasis in an ever expanding small market town”, and feared that “yet another junction entering and exiting an already very busy and congested street is accident waiting to happen”.

Jonathan Daniels said his neighbouring property would be overlooked by one of the 16, causing a “totally unacceptable loss of privacy”.

And Elizabeth Shepley claimed facilities in Ross “are under extreme pressure” and doctors’ appointments are “like hen’s teeth, with no plans for another surgery”.

For the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which includes much of the town, Josh Bailey said the design “could be much improved” with for example less brightly coloured bricks, changes which were “easily resolvable”.

Ross-on-Wye town council supported the scheme but backed the county housing officer’s call for those with a local connection to be given priority for the six affordable houses in the scheme.

The final decision notice confirming these suggestions has yet to be published.