Fury as councillors overturn refusal on village homes

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Villagers in Great Bowden are furious, after Harborough District Council planners said ‘yes’ by a narrow majority to a scheme for five new homes in the village.

The new houses will be built on land off Dingley Road despite officers recommending that the plan be refused.

The scheme was going to be refused without going to planning committee, the Mail understands, because officers and local people were all against it.

But one councillor “called it in” last year, meaning that it had to go to committee.

And there - to villagers’ surprise - the scheme was voted through on a narrow majority.

Most planning councillors ruled that there were insufficent grounds to reject the scheme.

And there’s a further twist to the tale. The call-in should not have been allowed, the Mail understands.

Local district councillor Phil Knowles said: “That councillor did nothing wrong whatsoever in calling the plan in - that’s his right, and every councillor’s right.

“But officers should have told the councillor that he was both outside the time period allowed for call-in, and also that he needed to make the call-in in writing, which he never did.”

As the rules stood at the time, the latest Great Bowden homes plan should not have gone to committee - and would instead have almost certainly have been turned down by officers under their delegated powers.