AT the end of last year, developer James Hepworth lodged an application for housing in the gardens of Linney House, this time for four homes.

The previous application for eight homes lodged in March 2019 had not yet been decided.

It still has not been decided so Mr Hepworth has asked the planning inspectorate to decide the application.

“He is within his rights to do so but it takes the decision out of local democratic hands,” said Andy Boddington, Shropshire councillor for Ludlow North.

The councillor is calling for both applications to be considered by the Shropshire Council southern area planning committee.

“In the instance of the eight homes now being appealed, the committee can only give an indicative opinion, the decision it would have made.

“This will be passed to the planning inspector in Bristol.

“The scheme is well designed and will be an attractive place to live. But it is the wrong place and is not needed in a town which already has planning permissions for nearly 750 unbuilt homes.”

The appeal has been applied for on the grounds of non-determination of the planning application.

Applications of this size must be decided within eight weeks. In practice, many applications take longer, often by mutual agreement with the council.

Where that doesn’t exist, developers are within their rights to ask the planning inspectorate to make a decision once the eight week deadline has passed.

This appeal will be decided by written representations.

This is the simplest form of appeal.

The developer could have gone for an appeal hearing.

Hearings are more like arbitration. Parties sit around a table, exchange views and probe points. The planning inspector later declares a verdict.

Developers promoting big schemes often prefer a planning inquiry. It is more like a court room with barristers and witnesses.

“It can be an entertaining spectacle and a forbidding experience for non-professionals taking part,” Mr Boddington added.

The planning inspector will visit Linney House to view the site but Shropshire Council say that it is not necessary to enter the site.

“I am surprised at this as landscaping and loss of trees is one of the arguments against this development,” said Mr Boddington, who wants the inspector to enter the site and view it from the other side of the River Corve to judge its impact.