Irchester homes appeal dismissed

Irchester village campaigners who fought against the appeal. MP Peter Bone is also pictured

Irchester village campaigners who fought against the appeal. MP Peter Bone is also pictured

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An appeal against Wellingborough Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for a 124-home development for land west of High Street in Irchester has been dismissed by a Government inspector.

Planning inspector John Felgate presided over a week-long hearing in February to determine the fate of the application.

Today it has been announced that Mr Felgate will uphold Wellingborough Council’s decision to refuse the application by Barwoods.

In his report, he said: “I give considerable weight to the scheme’s housing and economic benefits. However, the harm that I have identified is substantial too, and gives rise to significant conflicts with development plan policies and with relevant guidance in the Framework.

“Having taken account of all the other matters raised, I find nothing that causes me to depart from these conclusions. I therefore conclude, on balance, that planning permission should be refused. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.”

Reacting to the news, Cllr Paul Bell, leader of Wellingborough Council and member of the planning committee, said: “We welcome the news that the appeal has been dismissed. Credit is due to the people of Irchester, who put together a very well-structured campaign to present their objections. We are not against growth in Wellingborough, but we want to make sure it is in the right places, where we plan for it, rather than unwanted development in our villages.

“That’s why the council’s planning committee refused permission when the application was considered last summer. We are pleased this decision has been upheld by the government inspector. It’s a good result for local democracy.”

Chris Stening, Chairman of Save Irchester Village said: “We are obviously absolutely delighted with this decision by the Inspector. This is a victory for localism and it just goes to show that if we stand up for what we believe in then we are listened to. We really hope that this now sets a precedent for all other unwanted rural developments across the borough, county and country.

“This development has been opposed by Irchester Parish Council, Wellingborough Council, our County Councillor Sue Homer and our local MP, Peter Bone as well of course as the 2000 people that signed the petition opposing development outside of our village boundary. Our Neighbourhood plan, a process being run by local people and in which all residents will have a say, is now the way in which the future of our community will be determined.

“On behalf of the Save Irchester Village group I would like to thank everyone that has delivered a leaflet, signed a petition, held a banner, provided advice or encouragement, attended a meeting, wrote opposing the development or supported us in any way whatsoever.”

At the inquiry, Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, local councillors and village campaigner spoke against the plans.”

At the inquiry, Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, local councillors and village campaigner spoke against the plans.

Speaking at the inquiry, Mr Bone said: “This has far wider implications than just this appeal. My fear is if this appeal is granted it would establish a precedent for building outside the village boundaries.”

Pam Armstrong, chairman of Irchester Parish Council, said: “We feel growth should be sustainable, in the right place, at the right time. In all my time on the parish council we have been against inappropriate development outside the village.”