HEREFORDSHIRE Council has approved plans for three homes put forward by a councillor despite laments over their proposed appearance.

Councillor Peter Jinman’s proposals to build the houses on land to the rear of the Laurels veterinary practice on Pontrilas Road in Ewyas Harold were given outline permission in September 2016.

But the planning committee was asked yesterday (January 15) to consider the appearance, landscaping and scale aspects of the scheme.

Councillor Sebastian Bowen, who stood in for councillor Jinman as the ward member, said the plans should be approved.

“This is a very straight forward one and is only before you as the landowner is a Herefordshire councillor and has to come before the planning committee,” he said.

“Although the proposed buildings would never win architectural competitions, and that is perhaps the sad state of planning generally.

“I wish we had more adventurous and beautiful proposals put before us more often but the house designs are acceptable and the site is well sheltered by existing hedges.”

Councillor Terry James said it was ‘pretty straight forward’ and recommended approving the scheme. This was seconded by councillor John Stone.

But councillor Jeremy Milln said the county needed a good design guide to help architects.

He said: “It is unfortunate in a way that this application comes hot on the heels of the Luston application where we were looking at buildings which were potentially rather good architecturally and certainly had a distinctive vernacular which reflected the local idiom.”

He said the proposed homes for Ewyas Harold could fit in at Welwyn Garden City, Staines or ‘God knows where’.

“We lack a good design guide for Herefordshire to assist architects in recognising what is special about our localities.

“Ewyas Harold at the foot of the Black Mountains and the Golden Valley certainly does have a decent vernacular.

“And although these buildings are tucked away from the street scene, we have a responsibility to try and drive up standards of design.

“It is a little disappointing that this opportunity has not been grasped given that the application is from a colleague.”

The planning committee granted permission with 13 votes in favour and one abstention.