100 houses will be built beside SAS HQ in Hereford despite MoD warning

Home affront: 100 houses will be built beside SAS HQ in Hereford despite MoD warning of 24-hour noise from gunfire, attack alarms and helicopters

  • Up to 100 houses will be built next to the SAS headquarters in Hereford despite MoD warning of noise
  • Military planning chiefs claimed sound of gunfire, attack alarms and helicopters will lead to complaints
  • Despite these concerns, the proposals were given the go-ahead by Herefordshire Council planners

Up to 100 houses will be built next to the SAS headquarters in Hereford despite the Military of Defence warning of 24-hour noise from gunfire, attack alarms and helicopters.

The development of the housing estate in the shadow of the SAS barracks in Herefordshire has been given the green light by town hall planners despite concerns being raised by military brass.

The MoD have been embroiled in the planning row since November 2019, when military planning chiefs claimed the sound from a nearby firing range, helicopters flying overhead and camp attack alarms could lead to noise complaints from neighbours.

They have claimed that if objections were raised by residents, it could even reduce the ‘operational effectiveness’ of the 22nd Special Air Service Regiment’s headquarters.  

Jodie McCabe, senior town planner for the MoD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation, wrote to town hall planners: ‘Hereford Garrison is a highly operational unit. A number of facilities/uses on the site can produce a considerable amount of noise.

Google Earth screengrab detailing the marked area of the proposed housing development (top) and the existing SAS base in Hereford (bottom) 

Planning document detailing the area of the proposed housing development next to the existing SAS base in Hereford

A general view of the entrance to the SAS base near Hereford

‘This includes, but is not limited to, helicopter activities, the use of (firing) ranges, the camp attack alarm and generators within a number of key buildings. The garrison operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 365 days a year.

‘The proposal could therefore lead to the potential for noise complaints from the new residents which could potentially force MoD to amend activities on the site, which could in turn adversely affect the operational effectiveness of the Garrison.’

Ms McCabe also said trees should not be allowed to grow between the housing site and SAS camp in a way which could see security compromised by allowing climbing. She also previously complained the applicants had not contacted the MoD to ensure the development didn’t interfere with national defence interests.

Ms McCabe said: ‘The application site is located immediately adjacent to Hereford Garrison which is an operational Defence site of national importance. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has a number of concerns with the proposed development.

‘Given that the application site is immediately adjacent to an operational MOD site and taking into account the importance of early engagement of key stakeholders in the pre-application stage, it is disappointing that the applicant has not appeared to engage directly with MOD in order to ensure that the proposals will not impact adversely on National Defence interests.’

Up to 100 houses will be built next to the SAS headquarters in Hereford despite the Military of Defence warning of 24-hour noise from gunfire, attack alarms and helicopters

The development of the housing estate in the shadow of the SAS barracks in Herefordshire has been given the green light by town hall planners despite concerns being raised by military brass

Despite the concerns raised by the MoD as well as complaints from locals, the proposals were given the go-ahead by Herefordshire Council.

Applicants Anna Spreckley and Eleanor Van Straaten will now develop around nine acres of land and build up to 100 properties including 35 affordable homes.

Architects working on the scheme said there were no impacts that would arise from the design or layout that would outweigh the benefits. But residents previously said the proposals would increase traffic and that there would not be enough services in the village to cater to the new homes.

They also feared building on the site could increase the risk of flooding and questioned whether people would even want to move that close to an SAS base.

The MoD have been embroiled in the planning row since November 2019, when military planning chiefs claimed the sound from a nearby firing range, helicopters flying overhead and camp attack alarms could lead to noise complaints from neighbours

Thomas Bradley, 55, who lives in Credenhill, said: ‘The increased traffic flow will no doubt cause havoc around the village. And who on earth would want to live next to an SAS base and firing range anyway. I can’t imagine its going to be very peaceful sitting in your garden listening to that.

‘As a local my concerns aren’t really about the military base really but you’ve got to question whether its sensible to build homes that close to it.’

Another villager, Jon Hodges, said: ‘I also feel the drainage could be an issue as flooding from the field has found its way into gardens in the past. As with all drainage problems if you have an excess of rainfall the water has to go somewhere, so I feel someone else will be compromised.’

Credenhill ward councillor Bob Matthews previously told a parish council meeting that the site would be approved under delegated powers.

He added: ‘The key issues on this site have been the suitability of the proposed cycle footway, drainage and the relationship with the MoD camp. Providing the highways officer is satisfied, the proposed footway link is achievable and suitable for such use.

‘Welsh Water have confirmed that a foul water drainage connection to a specified manhole would ensure that the scheme is acceptable.

‘I’ve alerted them to the problems we’ve previously concerning foul drainage and overspills to the south west of the site. The drainage strategy is deemed to be acceptable.

‘In this case the benefits outweigh the modest negative impacts of this site.’

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