Petition is launched over 1,800 home bid
A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build up to 1,800 homes on the outskirts of Harborough is being ‘called in’.
The call-in, which will stall the homes plan, came just days after a petition was launched over Harborough Council’s decision to press ahead with proposals for the homes at Airfield Farm.
The Tory-run council’s executive committee voted last Wednesday to proceed with the proposal.
It would pave the way for the creation of a Strategic Development Area stretching from Airfield Farm off the old A6 to the top of Lubenham Hill.
Between 1,500 and 1,800 homes would be built there between now and 2031 - meeting on a single site the majority of the council’s Government-set housing targets.
The decision sparked anger, with council planners accused of ignoring the findings of a public consultation which came out in favour of an alternative plan for 1,000 homes.
Opposition Lib Dem councillors are urging the executive committee to back-track and an e-petition was launched last Thursday, signed by 31 people, as of yesterday (Wed).
The council’s report admits there was opposition to the 1,800-home plan, but revealed less than one per cent of people in the town commented during a consultation.
Lib Dem councillors Sarah Hill, Barbara Johnson and Phil Knowles hope the petition will show more people are opposed to it than was reflected in the consultation,
They also ‘called in’ the decision, meaning it will have to be revisited by the council’s scrutiny panel.
Cllr Knowles said: “The wider community, parish councils, indeed so many people, feel their concerns are not being listened to and so we took the decision to call for this to be taken to scrutiny for full and frank consideration.”
He said the call-in had been acknowledged and they are await formal confirmation.
And a top Tory councillor who sits on the executive even agreed that a call-in was a good idea.
Cllr Blake Pain said: “Whilst a call-in shouldn’t be used lightly, I believe on this occasion it makes absolute sense. Those present at last week’s meeting heard me speak and vote against these proposals.
“The balance of housing needs is an important question but is surely trumped by the wider question of ‘are they in the right place?’.
“The reality is the executive considered a 150-page document regarding four options. There are inherent risks associated with all the options that, in my opinion, stem from a lack of robustness within the recently-adopted core strategy.
“Given the call-in, I hope members put politics aside and take an objective yet detailed look at the report.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
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