Latest news – May 2018
The reserved matters application (18/00268/REM) for the Erection of 195 dwellings and associated appearance, landscaping, scale and infrastructure works, was approved by HDC Planning Committee and the decision published on 8 May 2018.
The proposed development would, by virtue of its scale, design, form and massing, not adversely affect the living conditions of neighbouring residents, would not adversely affect local highway safety or give rise to a road safety hazard. It would respond appropriately to the site’s characteristics. In addition, the proposal would not adversely affect ecological or archaeological interests or lead to an unacceptable flood risk. The proposal therefore complies with Policies CS2, CS3, CS5, CS8, CS9, CS10, CS11 and CS17 of the Harborough District Core Strategy and Policies H3 and H4, of the Kibworths Neighbourhood Plan.
Although the Kibworths Neighbourhood Plan had been ‘made’, i.e. adopted, in January 2018, the site already had outline planning permission so predated the Neighbourhood Plan referendum.
After the decision to approve the application by HDC Planning Committee I wrote to the national Planning Casework Unit (PCU) to request that the decision be called-in by the Secretary of State. While a review is ongoing to assess whether the planning decision by HDC should be called-in by the SoS, HDC planners are unable to release the decision notice. In effect it puts a pause into the proceedings.
This is the response I have received back from the PCU confirming that a review is being considered.
Dear Dr Feltham
Thank you for your letter and email of the 23 and 31 May 2017, asking the Secretary of State to call in the above planning application.
The application is currently under consideration and your views, along with all other relevant information, will be taken into account before the Secretary of State decides whether or not to call-in the application for determination. I hope you will understand that I cannot comment on the matter further, as to do so might prejudice the Secretary of State’s position.
Please note that as you have made representations about a planning application which is before the Secretary of State, it may be necessary to make
your letter available to a third party should that party make a request for information on representations made to the Secretary of State on the application. Any personal or identifying information will be removed before release.
I will let you know the outcome in due course.
At their 23rd May meeting, Kibworth Beauchamp Parish Council also approved specific funding to seek initial, legal advice about whether there is a case for a successful challenge to HDC’s decision to approve this application. Representatives will therefore be meeting with specialist legal advisers in London in the next few weeks.
The application was determined by HDC Planning Committee at the Three Swans Hotel Conference Centre on Tuesday 16th May. The officer had recommended it for approval. DCllr Holyoak vacated the chair because after advice he believed he had fettered his discretion and left the room. DCllr Neville Hall took the chair. Twelve people spoke objecting to the plans using many of the reasons listed below. Helen Bareford, for the applicant, spoke in favour.
I had raised the matter of the Supreme Court judgement released on 10th May which gave some guidance about not necessarily ignoring Core Strategy planning policies just because there was not a 5 year housing supply. The Planning Committee members had not been briefed on this judgement, so DCllr Hall adjourned the meeting for 5 mins or so and members shared and read a copy of a generic, legal opinion that HDC had obtained from counsel. This was not specific to the application under consideration.
The adjournment ended, and councillors discussed the various aspects of the application until DCllr Rook proposed approval, seconded by DCllr Burrell. At the vote, 7 members voted for and the rest abstained. The application had been approved.
I wrote to the Secretary of State on 23rd May to request that this decision is called in and assessed again by the National Planning Control Unit. I await the outcome, but if my request is accepted, this could suspend the publication of a decision notice until the initial review had been completed. If the Secretary of State agrees to a full call in, then it could delay the final decision for month, or even reverse it.
Although this planning application was first sent to HDC in early 2016, it has effectively been paused by the developer until early February 2017 when a revised ouitline plan for the three fields off Fleckney Road was published on the HDC planning portal.
The application is now for 195 houses (down from 200), the community building just inside the access off Fleckney Road on the right has been removed, and several areas identified by LCC Ecologists as needing protection of rare wild flora (might be designated as a Local Wildlife Site) will not be built on. No date has yet been given for when this comes to the Planning Committee but it is likely to be from early April onwards. As of updating this article, there were 328 objections on the HDC planning portal.
Comments in the objections include:
- Traffic – already busy on Fleckney Road and the junction with Warwick Road and onwards towards the A6
- Schools – lack of space for new pupils at primary school and Kibworth School also would be oversubscribed
- Health – already lack of time for appointments at both practices, so this will just make it much worse
- Landscape – developing these fields will destroy the medieval ridge and furrow, so affecting the landscape
- Heritage – development would result in an unacceptable loss of ridge and furrow heritage asset. Intersting archaeological finds across most of site.
- Ecology – how will the areas of Wildlife Space be protected? The very rare Adders tongue fern is located next to the main entrance road – needs specific protection detailed by developer.
- Sewage – this development means Anglian Water will need to invest some £400,000 to improve the capacity of the infrastructure, i.e. wider pipes
- Single access –195 houses off a single entrance road – 6Cs Guide states – Normally no more than 150 from a single point of access.
All three district councillors, both parish councils and myself are involved in discussions with the developer and HDC planners. I don’t think this is a necessary development; the Neighbourhood Plan Group ranked this site as RED because it has no potential for sustainable development.