THERE is a row about a development at Fishmore Quarry in Ludlow.

A councillor says that the homes are needed but that the destruction of trees and environmental damage is not.

He says that promises of replanting are not good enough as it can take years and decades for trees to grow and mature.

Furthermore, the councillor says that it is an example of where too often bricks and mortar are given priority over protecting the environment.

“One of Ludlow’s richest areas of biodiversity has been bulldozed,” said Andy Boddington, Shropshire councillor for Ludlow North.

“It is far from clear whether the tree and shrub clearance is within current planning consents, though the developer insists it is,” Mr Andy Boddington.

“What is clear is that technical changes to this scheme have led to a significant loss of biodiversity. One of the biggest losses we have seen in Ludlow.

“We can’t keep allowing this. We should not have allowed it here. Biodiversity can’t be instantly replaced by scattering seeds or planting quicks and saplings. Biodiversity areas take decades to mature. We must change the way we assess planning applications to ensure this doesn’t keep happening.

“The meadow on Castle View Terrace overlooks the quarry cliff face.

“Over the last few days, we have seen the destruction of one of Ludlow’s most important urban wildlife corridors. The developer will replant but it will be many years before bugs, beasties, small mammals and all the stuff of biodiversity feel at home.

“Shropshire Homes is developing the Fishmore Quarry site for a high density housing development. Our town needs the sort of housing going up there. What we don’t need is the scorched earth actions currently underway on the former quarry cliff edge.”

The councillor says that when the outline planning application was lodged in 2016 there was no indication that in would involve: ‘the brutal clearance of most of the quarry face.’

Mr Boddington said that there have been a catalogue of changes relating to the application and it has become confusing. “Significant changes have been made to this development,” said Mr Boddington.

“I have concerns that planning officers did not always recognise the implications of what was being proposed for the extensive biodiversity that was once on the quarry face.”

“And therein lies a major problem. Biodiversity and landscape protection are nearly always second place to bricks, mortar and tarmac in planning considerations. Too often that means that biodiversity and environmental protection is below the radar.

“We urgently need a major upgrade to local and national planning policies to ensure that biodiversity is one of the primary matters considered when assessing planning applications.”