Villagers must wait for Gretton housing public inquiry decision

A housing inquiry to decide the outcome of a controversial Gretton planning appeal has finished a day and a half early.

Villagers will have to wait for the decision whether permission to build 120 homes on farmland will be granted.

The planning inquiry notice

The planning inquiry notice

Land developer Gladman, based in Cheshire, is proposing to build the homes on fields (the area of about eight rugby pitches) bordering the historic Jurassic Way behind Southfield Road and Latimer Close.

Corby Council, Gretton Parish Council and residents have strongly objected to the application, which has already been rejected once.

Gretton Parish Council has said that it does not consider the application sustainable and that the 120 homes would contravene the Joint Core Strategy Policy that a new development must be of ‘justifiable form and scale’.

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

Fields behind Southfield Road

Fields behind Southfield Road

He said: “It would be absolutely sinful if this development went ahead - it is totally unsuitable and what’s more it’s totally unsustainable.

Another resident who attended the inquiry added: “The population in the village will be doubled, maybe even trebled - we just don’t want the houses here.”

Parish councillors objected on the grounds that there is not enough infrastructure to support the development - including the added pressure on the ‘blocked and broken sewers’.

They also say that the primary school which currently has 40 more pupils than its capacity of 105 has no more room to build extra classrooms, and that the village’s narrow roads cannot support the increased traffic.

An inquiry was ordered after a formal planning application for 120 homes in the rural village had been submitted and rejected.

In their objection to the planning application the council said: “In December 2017 Corby Council commissioned Midlands Rural Housing to carry out a housing needs survey in the Parish of Gretton.

“The survey provided up to date and robust local housing needs evidence for the council’s Local Plan and Gretton’s Neighbourhood Plan.

“The survey identified a need for 16 affordable and 11 open market properties in the next five years.

“A development the size of that applied for by Gladman cannot be justified or be sustainable in the village of Gretton.

“The parish council respectfully requests that the appeal is refused.”

The proposed Gladman development includes on the 8.2 hectare site play equipment, ponds, new trees and a community park.

About 40 per cent of the homes would be affordable. Access would be off Southfield Road.

The developers state that the houses are needed because the borough of Corby is failing to meet its housing needs.

They estimate that construction would take between two and three years.

Their design and access statement to planners states: “The overall vision for the site is to provide a distinctive and high quality place, which embraces the qualities and character of Gretton.

“The development will provide up to 120 dwellings while respecting the site’s environmental assets.

“Housing will be set within a generous provision of green infrastructure, helping it to integrate with the landscape and create a distinctive sense of place.

“Rather than attempt to imitate existing built development, the design is inspired by the architectural character and detail found within Gretton and the surrounding landscape.”