A decision on a proposal to get work under way again on the Little Stanion development has been deferred.
Work on the housing estate, between Corby and Stanion, ceased in 2012 with only 414 of the 970 proposed houses built.
Now, in an attempt to get the scheme finished, it is being proposed that certain conditions of the original planning permission be dropped, as well as more houses be built.
If all the parties involved agree, a number of obligations on behalf of the builders would be removed, including the payment of £975,000 to Corby Council for a community centre, the payment of about £950,000 to the county council for secondary education in the borough, and the requirement for additional highway work in the vicinity of the development.
The original developer of Little Stanion was Bela Partnership Ltd, operating through subsidiary Silentpride Ltd.
A Corby Council report discussed at a development control committee meeting last night says work stalled in late 2011 or early 2012 due to “financial difficulties on the part of Bela”.
The ownership of Silentpride transferred in early 2013 to current owner James Moore, the operator of JME Civils which has worked on the Little Stanion development previously.
The council report says much of the intervening two years has been spent trying to get Silentpride out of administration so it can complete the works on-site.
The proposal which Corby Council officers recommended be approved last night would see JME/Silentpride gain control of a parcel of land to the east of the proposed development boundary, which is currently owned by Tata Steel.
The council says it has “facilitated introductions between JME/Silentpride and Tata” but the outcome of these discussions is not yet known.
If the land was purchased, a fresh application would be made for between 200 and 250 more houses to be built there, over and above those within the existing planning permission.
The construction of these houses would raise enough money to pay for what Corby Council and the county council are seeking from the developers, and generate a small profit for Silentpride.
The authorities still want to see the completion of open space landscaping and the provision of several children’s play areas and sports pitches.
A new requirement for a shop within the district centre would be part of the modified agreement, as would a communtity room albeit on a smaller scale than the previously proposed community centre.
The county council is still owed £3.5m for the construction of the primary school; this would be recouped with a ‘roof tax’ of about £12,000 on each additional property sold on the enlarged site.
The report says that, although this proposal is not without risks, it offers the most realistic prospect of achieving a result everyone can accept.
An alternative option included in the report suggests pursuing the four original housebuilders and Silentpride through the courts to enforce the existing agreement, but as this would almost certainly put back the completion of the development even further this option has not been recommended for approval.
Sharon Greenwood, of Cotswold Close, Little Stanion, said: “At the start of this week we were notified that potentially Corby Council will be adding more houses to Little Stanion village, within the green areas.
“The residents are angry as they are having a meeting on Tuesday, giving us hardly any time to think through the changes.”
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “Little Stanion is a new development which has been advertised to all who have bought new houses here as a village that is environmentally sustainable with green spaces, play areas, local shops and a purpose-built school to cope with the children living within the community.
“I bought a brand new house two years ago after being sold the village idea.
“Unfortunately the roads have not been Tarmaced, there is little or no street lighting on the estate, and the villagers have been told that in order for us to get this promised idea of a village we will have to accept hundreds more houses being built, taking up most of the green spaces and all of the areas designated for play areas.
“This will also mean the school will be too small and not all of the residents will be able to send their children to it.
“All of us have paid a premium for buying into this village, everyone has to pay a management fee for the upkeep and maintenance of the village, and there are some people who have paid even more to be next to green spaces which they were promised would not be built on.”
A Corby Council spokesman said: “After carefully listening to residents’ views at last night’s development control committee, members have decided to defer the decision.
“This will allow time for a consultation to take place with residents as requested.”