Hereford & Worcester

Wildlife trust 'worried' over Lugg Meadow homes plan

The River Lugg
Image caption The trust is worried run-off from the development will pollute the Lugg river floodplain

A wildlife trust has said it is "very worried" about proposals to build 135 homes on a site near an ancient meadow.

The plans for 135 homes at Aylestone Hill, near Lugg Meadow, will be decided at a public inquiry, on 28 April, after being rejected by Herefordshire Council.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust said Lugg Meadow was the largest surviving land of its kind in the country.

Bovis Homes said the council had recommended the plan for approval.

'Huge need'

The trust said Lugg Meadow was known as a "lammas meadow" - a historic form of land management which is still practised.

Helen Stace, from the trust, said: "We are seriously concerned about the impact of these buildings on the meadow.

"The proposed site is very close - it's about 20m [65ft] away.

"The main problem would be the run-off from the houses...that could include petrol residues, road salts, garden chemicals - anything else that gets into the water.

"The bottom part of the land floods and that water will go all over the meadow.

"I think you will lose an area of old pasture which is part of the historic landscape. This area hasn't been ploughed for many years. It should be protected."

She said the trust was currently preparing evidence to present at the inquiry.

What is a lammas meadow?

  • Lammas meadows are an ancient system of managing land
  • In the summer, it is managed for hay. Flowers are allowed to grow and birds nest
  • The hay is then cut and on Lammas Day, 1 August, the land is opened to common rights grazing

Bovis Homes said the council's ecologist, Natural England and the Environment Agency, had not objected to the plans.

They said the site was not within the meadow and could even improve the biodiversity of the area because it incorporates "attractive areas of public open space".

"There is a huge need for new homes in the area, with the council identifying a requirement to plan for 6,500 new properties in and around Hereford," it said.

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