New employment site for town

The allotments at De Verdon Road, which will shut later this year. New plots will be part of the development next to Fairacres showmens site.
The allotments at De Verdon Road, which will shut later this year. New plots will be part of the development next to Fairacres showmens site.
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Planners have approved a new employment zone for Lutterworth next to Fairacres showmen’s site - despite objections from the showmen.

Travelling showman John Bennett, who lives on the Fairacres site, told Harborough District Council’s planning committee on Tuesday night: “We’re just asking for a little bit of consideration.

“From my kitchen window to the roadway to this site is 15 metres.

“There will be 600 vehicle movements a day in and out of this site. Pollution and noise from these vehicles is going to vastly affect the residents of Fairacres.”

But councillors agreed with an officer recommendation to approve the outline planning application for up to 9,500 square metres of office and light industrial units on the site, on land south of Lutterworth Road, Lutterworth.

They also approved a plan for 70 allotments on a neighbouring plot, which the showmen say will attract even more traffic, being an edge-of-town site.

The allotments are designed to replace the De Verdon Road allotments, which will shut later this year.

The original alternative site, north of the A4303, fell when the plan for the associated houses was rejected.

Cash-strapped Harborough District Council, which owns the central De Verdon Road site, has opted to sell the land to a housing developer.

Allotment holders campaigned for eight years to save the De Verdon Road site, but are now resigned to the sale.

James Meakin, a Lutterworth school student, also led an online campaign to preserve the allotments site.

He has attracted more than 1,300 signatures to his petition to save the allotments.

Cllr Stephen Bilbie said starter units for businesses were particularly needed in Lutterworth - the outline plan includes starter units.

He said: “There are a lot of large companies in the area but not starter units. And the allotments are for the community. I’m quite happy to recommend approval.”

Cllr Amanda Burrell said: “I hope officers will work with Fairacres residents”. She added that space for 250 cars showed the high volume of traffic that would be using the site.

Mr Bennett said: “We’ve been referred to as ‘you people who live on an encampment’. I’m not a Red Indian, I’m an Englishman. The councillors said they were going to help us, but they haven’t at all.”