Below is the text of comments by the Trustees of the Village Hall to the Herefordshire Council planning website in relation to the Simmonds planning application. (We submitted them on 9 June but they have yet to be published!)

As prospective neighbours of the development contained in planning application P160014, the Trustees of the Stoke Lacy Village Hall charity would like to make the following comments. 

Firstly, the Trustees use the word ‘comment’ advisedly. Our remit is a narrow but important one: to ensure the Village Hall serves the needs of the inhabitants of Stoke Lacy, both now and in the future. Further, with the developers’ offer to the Village Hall of a gift of additional recreational space, we understand we have been placed in the position of an interested party. Clearly there would be issues such as security worries and increased maintenance costs that might prove difficult to address but there can be little doubt that extra recreational space would be beneficial.

However, it would be wrong if the undoubted attraction of the gift were to blind the Trustees to potential negative consequences of the proposed development, and we would like to bring the following points to the attention of the Planning Committee. 

On 6 December 2015 we wrote to the developers and pointed out that the original scheme presented to the consultation meeting held in Stoke Lacy Village Hall on 25 November made proposals for modifications to Village Hall property without having sought the views or consent of its owners, our charity. At the same time we raised four issues of concern in the hope that the application might be amended before final submission to the Council. 

Although the original application has now been superseded by the second, heavily revised, version, most of our original remarks remain relevant and we feel that it would be helpful for members of the Planning Committee, and Stoke Lacy residents, to know what our concerns were. The full text of the letter is printed below (Appendix 1). It should be noted that the developers responded to our concerns in what we regarded as a constructive way; hopefully they will publish their response in due course so that residents may judge for themselves.

Nevertheless there remain a number of issues with which we remain unhappy, notably our continued opposition to: 

• the proposed position of the proposed pedestrian crossing; 
• access/security issues relating to the gifted area;
• the implication that the Village Hall car park could be used as overflow parking for the new development.

 Turning to the covering letter to the revised scheme of 10 May 2016, we would like to make the following observations. 

Firstly in the section headed “Open Space”, the developer writes: “Discussions have taken place with the village hall committee and they have advised that they are supportive of the land being gifted to them.”

In fact, no face-to-face discussions have yet taken place but in response to an email asking for our view on the offer of the gift of land and specifically whether the Parish Council or Village Hall would be the most appropriate recipient, we replied:

“On the question of ownership, since the land abuts the Village Hall, it would surely be natural for the Village Hall to be its custodians. Indeed, since the Hall stands on land generously given by Mr Neville Symonds’s father, this would surely be the most appropriate course of action.” Of course should the Parish Council have a more convincing argument as to why they should become custodians of the gifted land the Village Hall Trustees would be happy to defer.

Finally, on a point of detail, in the section headed “Open Space”, the developer’s covering letter to the revised scheme of 10 May 2016 states that: “… the applicant is aware that Stoke Lacy Village Hall has no useable outdoor space.” This is incorrect; though small, there is a grassed area at the back of the Village Hall that has been used to erect a marquee on more than one occasion.


 Appendix 1

4 December 2015

Ref: Proposed residential development in Stoke Lacy


Dear Ms Joseph

Following the public meeting at Stoke Lacy Village Hall on 25 November at which you launched the public consultation on the proposed residential housing development in the adjacent orchard, the Hall Trustees met today to discuss the project.

While we believe that it is not part of our remit to comment on general aspects of the development, we agreed that, because the Village Hall is directly referred to in several of your proposals, we would like to bring the following specific issues to your attention:

1. You propose a new pedestrian crossing for the A465 leading to the side entrance of the Hall. It is the opinion of the Trustees that, for a variety of reasons, this is not a suitable location for a crossing. The enlarged section of your General Arrangement drawing clearly shows that the new crossing and the proposed footway to the bus shelter opposite the Plough public house would involve the creation of an opening in the Village Hall’s existing railings. These railings were installed by Herefordshire Council in the spring of 2003 following an incident where, on leaving a Village Hall event, a child ran into the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The Trustees would strongly recommend that on health and safety grounds any opening in the railings must be via a suitable child-safe gate.


2. At the public meeting it was suggested that interested parties, including the Village Hall, might be prepared to take over the administration of the proposed children’s play area. We would like to make it clear, however, that, as presently constituted, the Hall Trustees do not have the administrative capacity to take on this widened role. Therefore it would be misleading if any application to Herefordshire Council suggested otherwise.


3. In the “Emerging site layout” diagram on your consultation boards, a footpath has been inserted between the back of the Hall and the hedge to the proposed development plot. An explanatory panel reads ‘Footpath link to the Village Hall and associated car park.” We would like to register our concern that this issue was not raised with us prior to the consultation meeting, especially given that the footpath would be on land owned not by the developer but by the Hall. Changes to the property of the Hall remain the sole responsibility of the Hall Trustees. It is only when the management structure and responsibility for the running and maintenance of the proposed children’s play area has been established that the Trustees would be in a position to discuss the matter further.


4. The development plan contains provision for a 2-meter-wide pedestrian footpath running along the A465 between the Hall and the bus shelter opposite the Plough public house. The Trustees would welcome such a path as it would clearly benefit some of its patrons. However an inspection of the site clearly shows that there is insufficient space between the A465 carriageway and the existing Village Hall hedge (which stands on Hall land). Indeed, at the end nearest the proposed housing site the Hall’s hedge would have to be completely removed and replanted further back from the road.  If the planning application is approved, the Hall Trustees are prepared for this work to be carried out provided that a formal written agreement guarantees that:

4.1 all costs are borne by the developer;
4.2 the security of the Hall’s heating oil storage tank is maintained during the works;
4.3 no work is begun without the submission to, and approval by, the Trustees of detailed plans regarding the works to be carried out;


As was noted above, the Trustees of Stoke Lacy Village Hall are always available to discuss any matter that furthers the interests of the village.  We can be contacted at the address shown above.

We would be grateful for your thoughts on the issues we have raised.

Yours faithfully
Stoke Lacy Village Hall Trustees






Minutes of the Extra-Ordinary  Parish Council Meeting held on Wednesday 1st  June 2016 in Stoke Lacy Village Hall at 7.30pm

Present: Councillor Neil Walters (Chairman); Councillors Clifford Bufton, Janet Ivison and John Westwood

In attendance: Mrs Alma Westwood (Clerk); Ward Councillor Jonathan Lester; 20 members of the public


1/16 To receive and accept APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 Councillor Anne Reece                                        

 Mrs Chris McNaught; accepted.


2/16 To receive DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST on Agenda item

Councillors Janet Ivison and John Westwood made declarations of non-pecuniary interests (Non-DPI) as members of Stoke Lacy Village Hall Committee.

 The Clerk declared the Parish Council was not quorate as two of the four members present were unable to vote. This meant that the planning application could be discussed but that no vote could be taken, but the Parish Council could advise the Clerk as to its feelings on the matter, noting that Councillor Reece had emailed Councillors and the Clerk as to her feelings.

3/16 To discuss revised PLANNING APPLICATION 160014: Land adjacent to Stoke Lacy Village Hall, HR7 4NG: Proposed erection of 12 new dwellings  including 2 affordable houses, new vehicular access and associated works, together with the gift of land to the Village Hall; on behalf of Mr N Symonds

The Chairman put the application in context, then invited members of the public to speak on this matter.

 Various concerns were raised, to which Ward Councillor Lester was invited to respond, inter alia:

 Whether the Newlands consent could be appealed.  Councillor Lester said it could not.

 Stoke Cross was bearing the brunt of the 15% development for Stoke Lacy/Stoke Cross: because the centre of Stoke Lacy was a conservation area.

      i.   It was key that everyone contacted Herefordshire Planning Dept with their  views on the revised application even if they had responded to the previous one.

      ii.  If the Planning Officer was minded to approve the plan, Ward Councillor Lester would ask that it went before the Planning Committee.  Representatives would then be given the opportunity to speak in favour or against the scheme.

 A show of hands from members of the public present indicated: FOR: 1; AGAINST: 15; ABSTAINED: 4

 After discussion with Councillors, the Chairman then asked Councillors for a show of hands of those not having declared an interest (2): FOR: 0; AGAINST: 1; ABSTAINED: 1  Councillor Reece had expressed her concerns in her email of apology and was AGAINST.

 The Clerk was asked to write to Herefordshire Council Planning Department with the Parish Council’s views (see below)*

 (see the Parish Council’s letter to the Planning Officer as published on Stoke Lacy website in February 2016 and its letter in response to this revised application published on the website in June 2016))


(all Wednesdays at 7.30pm) 13th July; 14th September; 9th November (set Precept); 2017: 11th January; 8th March;  

 Annual Meetings: 10th May 2017, Parish Meeting at 7.30pm; Parish Council Meeting at 8pm

The meeting closed at 8.17pm.





Stoke Lacy Parish Council                                          Lampacre Cottage

                                                                                       Stoke Lane

                                                                                       Stoke Lacy


                                                                                       HR7 4HD

                                                                                       Phone: 01885 490286





Your ref: 160014                                                                                   2nd June 2016


Mr A Banks, 

Planning Services, PO Box 230

Blueschool House, Blueschool Street




Dear Mr Banks


Re: 160014: Land adjacent to Stoke Lacy Village Hall, Stoke Lacy, Bromyard, HR7 4HG – Amended proposal to erect 12 dwellings, new vehicular access and associated works for Mr N Symonds

Following its meeting on Wednesday 1st June 2016 held in Stoke Lacy Village Hall at 7.30pm, Stoke Lacy Parish Council OPPOSED this application, on the following grounds:


  • 1.     The objections made to the original proposal for 25 houses on this site, made by this Parish Council on 10th February 2016, still pertain.  Notwithstanding the proposed ‘gift’ of land to the village hall and that the number of houses has been reduced to 12, the potential flooding, road safety and all other issues still remain, including the probability of contaminated land, as stated on the Environmental Health Issues letter on the planning website.  Also this land was marked as ‘unsuitable for development’ in the land survey of Stoke Lacy/Stoke Cross.  Source: Call for sites, page 5.

2.       From the Minutes of the Planning Meeting for the Newlands development: “This proposal (for 28 houses) would provide in one development more than the minimum growth the Core Strategy envisaged for Stoke Lacy in the life of the Strategy”. (January 2016; outline planning permission granted.)

3.       Since 10th February 2016 a further 4 planning applications have been approved for Stoke Lacy/Stoke Cross, bringing the total number of planning approvals to 32, which represents some 20% of existing houses in the area.  In the Parish Council’s view and, presumably, in Herefordshire Planners’ view (see 2 above) these more than allow for the minimum 15% housing growth envisaged in the Core Strategy for Stoke Lacy/Stoke Cross to 2031.  A further 12 houses would be a gross overdevelopment of this very small settlement and would contravene Herefordshire Council’s own Strategy.


Yours faithfully


Alma Westwood (Mrs)

Clerk, Stoke Lacy Parish Council





Stoke Cross & Stoke Lacy. Herefordshire Housing Land Assessments 2015 pages 5,6. Land East of the Village Hall. 

(for the full report, click HERE)




Plan of amended Symonds Planning Application


For an enlarged, detailed image, please follow the link to the Herefordshire Planning pages. Click here.



May 2016 - Letter received by Stoke Lacy Parish Council from JCPC Planning Consultancy. 

Dear All

Please find attached a copy of the proposed revisions to the application which I have today submitted to  Herefordshire Council. You will see that we have reduced the proposed number of dwellings to 12 units which is a significant reduction in numbers in response to the concerns raised by the Parish Council and local residents. The 12 units allow for a mix of detached and smaller starter home units. We are still proposing to gift the land adjacent to the Village Hall and are happy to discuss any details regarding fencing, gates and access with the Village Hall Association. There is no formal requirement for the open space however my client feels that the provision of this space to the Village Hall will enhance the facilities of a much used local facility. The applicants are also offering to provide a Speed Indicator Device in response to local concerns about the traffic. You will note that the Highway Authority have raised no objection to the original scheme for 25 units.

I have attached the covering letter and the site plan but should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards

Julie Joseph


Herefordshire Council

PO Box 230

Blueschool House

Blueschool Street



Fao Mr Andrew Banks


10 May 2016


Dear Sirs

Re planning Application Reference 160014 Land Adjacent Stoke Lacy Village Hall HR7 4HG

Please find attached amended proposals for the above planning application which reduce the number of dwellings proposed on the site significantly to 12 dwellings. This seeks to address the concerns raised by local residents in relation to the scale of the proposal. The scheme which is in outline includes:


  • 10 private and 2 low cost private market dwellings
  • A meaningful area of open space immediately adjacent to the village hall to be gifted to the village hall
  • A new footway along the site frontage to link the village hall to the bus stop
  • A Pedestrian Crossing
  • A Speed Indicator Device

The original planning application was submitted following a very positive pre application request which recognised the positive benefits of developing the site, at that time the planning application for Newlands was in the public domain and had been subject to public consultation. Notwithstanding this the pre application response was very positive and is attached for information.

It is important to note that there have been no objections raised by any of the statutory consultees in respect of the larger proposal for 25 dwellings. This scheme therefore seeks to take into account and address local concerns which are predominantly based on housing numbers in the village. Additional concerns regarding, highway safety, flooding, ecology, sustainability have also been addressed.


 Housing Numbers

The site lies in the Bromyard Housing Market Area where the village is identified for 15% growth. In Stoke Lacy this represents a minimum of 24 dwellings. It is acknowledged that the site at Newlands has recently been granted approval at Committee subject to entering into a Section 106 Agreement which provides 28 dwellings but the Core Strategy states quite clearly that this a minimum figure to ensure there is scope for further provision. The councils provision regarding the 5 year Housing Land Supply is very finely balanced and a recent appeal decision indicated that despite the recent adoption of the Core Strategy the Council failed to have its 5 year housing land supply. This therefore puts the presumption clearly in favour of sustainable development and permission should be granted unless there are any adverse impacts which would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the National Planning Policy Framework as a whole (para 14).

Notwithstanding this Stoke Lacy is clearly identified for housing development and the application site which lies in Stoke Cross immediately adjacent the village hall, opposite the pub and within easy walking distance of various employment sites is clearly in a sustainable location.  The Case officer in dealing with the Newlands application clearly stated that the lower settlement of Stoke Lacy around the church had very limited opportunities for residential development. As such the focus of any new development is likely to be in Stoke Cross.

Whilst several of the Parishes in the Bromyard HMA are developing their own Neighbourhood Plan many are not and therefore the approval of 12 more dwellings will help to provide much needed dwellings within the area and contribute positively to the 5 year Housing Land Supply.

The proposal seeks to reduce the number of dwellings to 12 to create a more proportionate form of growth within the village which is clearly in accordance with Policies RA1 and RA2 of the adopted Core Strategy.

The Councils current policy for affordable housing requires affordable housing to be provided at  numbers of more than 10 dwellings.  Initially it was considered that the scheme be amended to provide 10 detached private houses with no affordable housing, however it was considered that the provision of some smaller scale housing would be beneficial to the village in terms of providing some starter homes to allow local people access to the housing ladder.  It is proposed therefore that the 4 smaller units are low cost private market dwellings. The scheme at Newlands for 28 dwellings providing the required social housing for the village.

Highway Safety

Concern has been raised from local residents regarding Highway safety. The site lies within a 30 miles per hour zone with clear lines of visibility. A detailed Highway Statement and Strategy has been produced which has been accepted by the Councils Highway Officer who have raised no objection to the scheme. The scheme proposes a footpath across the site frontage linking the village hall to the bus stop and also includes a pedestrian crossing point opposite the village hall. In response to concerns about speeding in the area the applicant is prepared to offer a Speed Indicator Device (SID) to further alleviate any speeding. Furthermore, the highway works required for the Newlands scheme will have the benefit of reducing traffic speeds when approaching the village from the Bromyard direction.


The site is currently a commercial orchard which is coming to the end of its useful life. It is recognised that commercial orchards have very limited ecological value and the pre application request raised no issue with its loss subject to mitigation works. The scheme proposes significant planting including more traditional orchard species which will enhance the biodiversity of the site. In addition, as the scheme lies within a smaller site the application, part of the commercial orchard will be retained.


The site is not subject to flooding and there have been no objections raised by the Councils Land Drainage Engineer on either Surface Water or foul drainage Grounds. Welsh Water have clearly stated that there is capacity in the system. An amended Drainage Report demonstrates that an infiltration system can not be used due to the underlying strata. It will therefore be necessary to have a tanked drainage system with attenuated discharge into a ditch to the south of the site. Agreement has been reached with the third party to allow connection to this ditch and an amended Certificate B has been included and notice served on the third party. Houses will be provided with water butts to encourage reuse of roof water.

Open space

The Council have clearly indicated that a village of Stoke Lacy has no requirement for additional open space and provision should be made for access to informal recreation via the wider countryside and public rights of way. The site lies immediately adjacent a public footpath and PROW have also raised no objection to the application. Notwithstanding this the applicant is aware that Stoke Lacy Village Hall has no useable outdoor space. Discussions have taken place with the village hall committee and they have advised that they are supportive of the land being gifted to them. they have suggested that rather than a formal play area the land should be set out informally which would allow multiple uses including the erection of a Marquis if required. The village hall at Stoke Lacy has been built to a high standard and is very well used. The provision of outdoor space will be a significant community benefit to the village.

It is considered that these amendments address the concerns of local residents with regard to housing numbers and should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards,

Julie Joseph

Planning Consultant





This planning application No. P  160014/O has now been submitted to Herefordshire County Council. You can look at it by clicking HERE.

If you wish to comment you can still do so even though the official date has passed, 

by writing to the Case Officer Andrew Banks, at Herefordshire Planning Services, P.O. Box 230, Blueschool House, Hereford, HR1  2ZB


phone:  01432 383085 

An extra ordinary Parish Council meeting was held on Wednesday 10th February. 

You can post your views on the FORUM page of this website, by sending them to 


Notes from the Planning consultation meeting organised by JCPC Ltd, Planning Consultants, regarding proposed development for Mr Neville Symonds at Stoke Lacy; held on Wednesday 25th November 2015 at 7.30pm in Stoke Lacy Village Hall and chaired by Mr Neil Walters, Chairman of Stoke Lacy Parish Council.

Present: Mr Neil Walters, Chairman of Stoke Lacy Parish Council; Mrs Alma Westwood, Clerk to Stoke Lacy Parish Council; Ms Julie Julie Joseph and Mr Ben Davis of JCPC Ltd, Planning Consultants; 41 members of the public.

The Chairman welcomed everyone and introduced Ms Julie Joseph and Mr Ben Davis, and invited Ms Joseph to speak first, to be followed by Mr Davis, and then he would take questions from the floor.

Ms Joseph explained the proposals for 24 houses, as set out in the basic draft layout on display.  They were being put forward as an alternative to the Newlands development and would be in the centre of the village.  It was proposed to have 10 affordable houses, two of which would be social rental. 75%  of all houses would  have 3 bedrooms or more and 25% 2 or 1 bedroom.  An open space would adjoin the village hall and Ms Joseph asked for residents’ ideas for use of this space, eg. as a playground,  a recreational space or a seating area.

      The present double hedge from the main road would be retained.

      It was proposed to build a pedestrian crossing to the pub and a footpath to the      

      bus stop and the village hall.

     A traffic survey had been carried out, showing average speeds in the area of   


     The impact on Swedish Houses would be minimised.

    An ecological survey was to be undertaken, especially for bats, barn owls and    

    great crested newts.

    In the new Core Strategy, Stoke Lacy village (not just the village envelope),

    along with all other villages, was scheduled to have a minimum of 15% housing   

    development over the years up to 2031 (166 houses in Stoke Lacy civil parish   



  1. Mr Ben Davis then explained how the proposed development fitted into the village.  He explained the landscape assets, including the proposed play area and existing footpaths, but said it was not a designated landscape.

The Chairman then invited questions/comments from the floor.

 The following are representative questions raised and comments made:

 Why was this village being targeted for housing development?  It has no facilities.

Chairman: Make your views known to Herefordshire Council, either via letter or by HC’s website.

  • Was there a problem with water pressure?  JJ said Welsh Water had revised their previous thoughts and there was no problem.  Welsh Water would be carrying out a survey re. sewage and drainage tests were to be carried out.  There would be no increase in run-off; it would go into a soak-away, and there would be no pollution.
  • Would both applications (Newlands and this one) go in?

Yes; anyone could put in a planning application.  It was up to Herefordshire Council to approve or not.

JJ said HC had given an acceptable response to the suggestion of this application.  Although ideally there should be a doctor’s and a shop, it was acceptable to have some residential development in some villages to sustain facilities in others.

  • Villages were under siege.  JJ: this had filtered down from central government’s housing policies and the stated need for up to 5300 new houses in Herefordshire up to 2031.  HC had not had a designated 5-year housing land supply and had no Core Strategy in place until last month.
  • If the need for 50+ houses in the village was up to 2031, why were both applications going in now?
  • Objections were raised on the use of agricultural land and matters such as hedgehogs, bio-diversity and the close proximity of the gardens of existing properties to this development.

BD replied that there would be a buffer-zone between the new development and existing houses and that old varieties of apple trees would be planted.

  • If either or both of these developments went ahead, how much would the developers be prepared to listen to villagers’ concerns and wishes?

JJ: That was what she and BD were here for today.

  • What would be the minimum number of houses they would be prepared to build?

JJ: There was a limit because of schools, but this was a discussion which would be had between her company and her client.

A discussion must be had as to whether the growth is disproportionate.

  • The need for affordable housing in villages was acknowledged, but why was it necessary to fill up large plots of land with other housing as well?

JJ: There was no obligation on developers to build fewer than 10 affordable or social houses (usually run by housing associations or low-cost market, i.e. 80% of market value, to be sold on always at this reduced percentage).  Starter homes came under different legislation and no details were yet available from central government on this.

      Would social housing be linked to the village?  JJ: Yes, HC already did this

      and it would be part of this development.

  • Three years ago HC said there were no plans to build in Stoke Lacy.
  • Benefit of the play area – JJ asked for ideas for its use, as this development wished to give something back to the village in an open space by the village hall.
  • Who would manage this open space?  JJ: A management committee, the Village Hall committee, the Parish Council – funding was available for this and costs would not go on the rates or precept.
  • Other matters raised: building on agricultural land; visibility splays for new access to the site;
  • Maintenance of footpaths – cost and responsibility: possible Section 106?  The Chairman said these issues should be taken up with Herefordshire Council.


  • When was the application likely to go in to HC?

JJ: It depends on the Newlands application, but before Christmas if possible.  It had been hoped to put this application through the Core Strategy, but it had not been possible with the other application going in already.  It would be at least 13 weeks before HC made a decision and people had more than the 21 days stated in which to make a response.

  • Would the insulation on these houses be above minimum?  JJ: this would be a strong selling-point and they very likely to be built to a higher standard.

 JJ asked that people phone or email her direct with any further concerns or queries.  She would send copies of the plans to anyone who requested them and would welcome comments.

The chairman then asked for further comments/questions, of which there were none.  He stressed that everyone should make their views known to Herefordshire Council either by email or in writing,  then drew the meeting to a close by thanking all present for their participation and JJ and BD for their responses.  It was agreed that no vote be taken on these proposals.

The meeting closed at 8.45pm.

 Alma Westwood

Clerk, Stoke Lacy Parish Council

26th November 2016


For Parish Council website; copies to JJ, NW



The pages below are taken from a pdf file supplied by JCPC planning consultancy.

To view the entire document please go to the "Our Files" section in the left-hand menu, or click HERE.