Village homes bid refused

Protesters outside the council offices ahead of the planning meeting to decide the fate of an application to build 124 homes in Irchester
Protesters outside the council offices ahead of the planning meeting to decide the fate of an application to build 124 homes in Irchester
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Campaigners celebrated after plans to build 124 homes on the outskirts of a village were rejected by Wellingborough Council’s planning committee.

Members refused to grant Northampton-based Barwoods Strategic Land outline planning permission to build up to 124 homes on land west of 124 High Street, Irchester, off Alfred Street.

The application, which had been opposed by more than 2,000 residents, also included plans for a new medical centre and land for sports use.

More than 100 campaigners packed into the extraordinary meeting of the planning 
committee on Monday, August 13.

A total of 15 people addressed the committee; most to voice their opposition with only a couple speaking in favour of the scheme.

The Save Irchester Village campaign group fought against the development.

Spokesman Tony Skipper told the committee that the plans “did not offer any improvement to the village”.

Councillors on the committee agreed and they voted against it by nine votes to none. There was one abstention.

Leader of the council Cllr Paul Bell said: “The application is ill thought-out and rushed. We have to listen to the people of Irchester.”

Recommending that the application be refused, committee vice-chairman Cllr Martin Griffiths said: “This council believes in infrastructure before development and this development will have a significant environmental impact.

“There has been a lot of talk about houses needing to be built to meet targets, but it is not the fault of the villagers that these targets have not been met.

“The vast majority of villagers believe this development is not suitable.”

Seconding the proposal to refuse the application, Cllr Andrew Scarborough said: “This is one of the most difficult planning applications I have ever had to consider.

“The main reason I am against it is that it is premature.

“The villagers are against the application and they are producing their own neighbourhood plan.

“What does localism mean if not to let local people have their say first?”