Gretton 120 home planning appeal dismissed

The land behind Southfield Drive, Gretton.
The land behind Southfield Drive, Gretton.

A public inquiry and appeal to decide whether planning permission for 120 homes has been dismissed by the inspector.

The inquiry held from July 9 to 11 included a site visit by Richard Aston, the inspector appointed by the Secretary of State.

The plans which have been rejected by the planning inspector

The plans which have been rejected by the planning inspector

Members of the community, Gretton Parish Council and Corby Borough Council had objected to the planning application put in by Gladman Developments Ltd.

Arable land, the area of about eight rugby pitches, bordering the historic Jurassic Way behind Southfield Road and Latimer Close had been earmarked.

The development proposed was described as ‘outline planning application for the demolition of existing agricultural building and erection of up to 120 dwellings including 40 per cent affordable housing, planting and landscaping, informal public open space, surface water flood attenuation, vehicular access point from Southfield Road and associated works with all matters reserved except for main vehicular access’.

Corby Council refused planning permission and Gladman Developments appealed against the decision.

The planning inquiry notice was placed on the access route to the proposed development

The planning inquiry notice was placed on the access route to the proposed development

But in a decision issued today (Tuesday) the planning appeal was dismissed.

Former chairman of Gretton Parish Council, Andrew Royle, had handed over a 521-signature petition to officials at the start of the four-day inquiry hearing.

Mr Royle said: “I am absoulutely elated at the descision - it’s good news.

“I never lost faith in my belief that the planning application would not go through.

“It looks as if the inspector has done a very thorough job and I think that it might make developers think twice before trying again.

“It was so important that the community came together.

“Corby Council planning department has done a good job and should be applauded for having the courage to resist this unaccaptable and unsustainable application.

“Credit goes to the planning inspector for doing a thorough review and to the Parish Council who fought a long and hard against this application.

“Finally, thanks to everybody who wrote to object whether one line or a six-page report. Everyone’s done a great job.”

In his 14-page report Mr Aston concluded that the main issues in the appeal were ‘whether the proposed development would be appropriately located, having regard to the development plan’s strategy, accessibility of services and facilities and the effect on the character and appearance of the area, and whether the (Corby) Council can demonstrate a 5-year supply of deliverable housing sites’.

Mr Aston North cited the Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011 – 2031 (JCS) as his basis to dismiss the building of a modern housing estate on to the egde on to small village like Gretton.

In the report he said: “Given the unique characteristics of the borough, dominated by a new town but with no market towns, growth is focused on Corby.

“The JCS clearly recognises development needs to be carefully managed to safeguard the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside and to sustainably focus growth to the most accessible areas.”

Mr Aston was not convinced that the five-year funding for a village bus service with travel card that they had proposed would continue beyond the initial term.

He said: “There would be an illusion of travel choice in the short term because of the bus service and travel card incentive.

“The reality however would be a limited service and limited cycle and walking opportunities for the majority of future residents.

“I also have serious concerns regarding the longer term provision of the bus service and in my judgement, this is not a location which is, or is likely to be, adequately served by sustainable transport modes for the scale of development proposed and for its lifetime.

“The number of direct and associated trips generated from 120 such dwellings would be substantial.”

Talking about the visual effect Mr Aston said: “There would be a permanent effect and a consequent change in the appreciation of the immediate landscape by formation of a new and harder edge to it.

“The open and undeveloped agrarian setting of the settlement would be harmfully altered.

“The appeal site would cease to contribute as positively to the intrinsic character and beauty of this part of the countryside.”

Mr Aston concluded: “The need to boost the supply of housing is not the be all and end all. Although there are clearly a number of benefits that weigh in favour of the proposal, at this point the adverse impacts of granting permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.”

Gretton Parish Council had objected to the application which it did not consider sustainable and that the 120 homes would contravene the Joint Core Strategy Policy that a new development must be of ‘justifiable form and scale’.

To read the full report go to the Planning Inspectorate website

Appeal Ref: APP/U2805/W/18/3218880