Anger over homes cash
AN ACTION group set up to oppose plans for 141 homes in Little Bowden is accusing Harborough Council of acting illegally over a cash arrangement it has made with the developer.
Windy Ridge Action Group say an agreement made between the council and Red Row Homes for the developer to pay cash to the authority instead of building affordable homes on the site off Glebe Road is illegal.
They have made a formal complaint to the council over the arrangement, which they say annuls the outline planning permission granted by a Government planning inspector.
Under planning rules, developers are obliged make sure 30 per cent of any development are affordable homes.
The latest row over the controversial site erupted after the council’s planning committee accepted a proposal by Red Row to instead pay cash to the council to allow it to buy Brooklands Gardens sheltered accomodation, in Walcot Road, Harborough.
The 53 homes there are owned by the Howard Watson Symington Memorial Charity, of which the council is the trustee, and are managed by Seven Locks Housing.
Purchasing the site would formalise the arrangement and ensure affordable homes would continue to be provided there.
Council officers had advised the committee not to accept the proposal, as the Government inspector had stressed the importance of building affordable homes on site.
And the Windy Ridge Action Group has complained over the decision by the planning committee to go against the officers’ recommendation.
It is accusing them of failing to follow planning laws and setting a dangerous precedent for future developers.
The group has called for the final decision on whether to grant detailed planning permission for the site - due this month - to be put on hold until after its complaint has been investigated.
The group also objects to the development over fears of toxic contamination at an old clay pit under the site and concerns over road access and development on open fields.
The council said it is under no requirement to review the decision made by the planning committee, which could only happen if enough councillors applied to ‘call-in’ the decision.
However it said planning decisions can be subject to a legal challenge by third parties.
A council spokesman said: “We are investigating the concerns raised by residents through our official channels.”
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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