A controversial housing estate due to be built in the shadow of Corby steelworks has been blocked by planners.
The 160-home Deer Park scheme had been proposed by developers MPB Structures just five metres from Tata’s huge steelworks in Weldon Road.
But a range of authorities had raised ‘grave concerns’ over the plan which they said could impede on the operations at the steelworks.
Now officers at Corby Council have refused permission for the development on five key grounds; protecting employment land; dangerous routes to local shops and services; unsuitability of the land for residential use; houses that are deficient in size; and a poor layout of the whole scheme.
However, there is nothing they can do to stop the conversion of the former high-rise steelworks offices into flats which has already begun - as under the government’s permitted development rights no planning permission is needed for residential conversion of office blocks.
MPB Structures is a Corby-based firm that has worked on prestigious developments on tricky sites including Birmingham’s New Street station revamp, Battersea Power Station’s transformation, Media City in Salford and the HSBC headquarters in Birmingham.
In the planning decision report, Northamptonshire County Council Joint Planning Unit objects says that the applicant has provided no evidence to show the development will provide safe, secure and direct routes to local facilities. The JPU was also critical of the lack of play areas and high housing density.
A statement from Anglian Water says: “Anglian Water notes the close proximity of the development to Corby STC Water Recycling Centre and would draw attention to the potential for nuisance associated with the operation of the treatment works.”
Their statement also says that the submitted flood risk assessment is ‘unacceptable’ and that the development will lead to an risk of flooding downstream.
Health protection officers at Corby Borough Council said: “We have grave concerns about the suitability of the site to be used for residential accommodation.”
And the council’s Environmental Health officer, raising worries about poor-quality backfilling of the land, states: “I have serious concerns regarding the suitability of the land to physically support the proposed dwellings.
CBC officers also have concerns over noise, odour and land contamination.
A planning decision written by Corby Council planning officer Kokoete Ekanem and signed off by head of planning Edward Oteng recommends refusal of the scheme and says that the applicant has six months to appeal the decision to the Secretary of State.