New homes bid gets approved

SARCASTIC applause came from the public gallery as councillors approved controversial plans for 460 new homes in Raunds.

Many residents had spoken against Taylor Wimpey’s proposal for the homes in Chelveston Road at a planning meeting on Wednesday.

But despite councillors’ own admissions they were opposed to the density of homes, they approved the planning application in front of a dozen protesters at the meeting.

After a long discussion with their officers, the councillors made the decision after being unable to find any strong enough reason for the proposal to be refused.

The councillors feared if they refused the application, the developer would win an appeal and the council would be left to foot a bill worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Councillor Andy Mercer said: “We would be on a hiding to nothing if we refused these plans and there was an appeal.”

The application is for outline permission for the development – but with outline permission any future application for homes at the site stands a good chance of approval.

It will include a mix of dwellings from one-bedroom flats in three-storey buildings to four-bedroom detached houses.

The developer says 25 per cent of the homes would be part of an affordable housing scheme.

There will be a public open space of more than 2.5 hectares which would include two lakes.

The proposal comes on the back of a two-day public consultation which took place in Raunds in May 2007.

There have been many objections in response to the proposed development, from both residents and nearby councils.

The main concerns include overcrowding and congestion on the local roads.