Developer loses appeal to build dozens of new houses in Irchester

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An appeal over plans to build more than 50 new houses in Irchester has been dismissed.

The proposed development with up to 59 dwellings including affordable homes, new vehicular and pedestrian access, open space and landscaping on land west of High Street, Irchester, was turned down by Wellingborough councillors in August 2015.

Applicant Barwood Strategic Land II LLP chose to appeal, but following a hearing in December, the appeal has been dismissed.

The main issues considered at the hearing were the effect of the proposals on the setting of the Grade I listed St Katherine’s Church and on the character and appearance of the countryside, including the setting of Irchester village.

After hearing from both sides, inspector Kenneth Stone upheld the council’s decision to refuse the plans.

His report said the proposed development would result in harm to the setting of the Grade I listed St Katherine’s Church.

He said the proposals would result in minor improvements to biodiversity, make provision for additional homes, provide affordable homes and have short term economic benefits during construction and from additional residents once occupied.

But added: “Whilst the harm I have identified is less than substantial, this is a grade I listed building and I give the harm significant weight and importance.

“I am not convinced that the public benefits attributable to the scheme outweigh the harm to this important heritage asset.”

He also said the proposal would result in material harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

In conclusion, Mr Stone’s report said: “The scheme does not therefore fulfil the environmental or social roles required to make the scheme sustainable development and the appeal should therefore be dismissed.”

Following the result, leader of Wellingborough Council Martin Griffiths said it was ‘really good news’ and added: “Irchester has had a fair bit of infill over the years and I think they have done their bit.”

Cllr Griffiths said the latest decision means the past four appeals against the council over planning decisions have been upheld, including the dismissal of appeals over houses on land off Northampton Road, Wellingborough, as well as two proposed developments in Irchester and one in Earls Barton.

The council leader added: “We have got localism, this proves that it works.

“We protect our local communities and we know where we want to build our houses.”