Anger over plans to build more homes on site proposed for ‘community plaza’ in Harborough district village
Villagers from Fleckney have suggested that new housing developments are “destroying the village” and claim the proposal for more goes against the neighbourhood plan.
A planning application has been recently submitted to Harborough District Council to build eight new semi-detached buildings, a public car park and a village community square on land next to Fleckney’s High Street. The land had originally been earmarked for development and planning permission was given in early 2020 to build an array of flats and a public plaza on the site, which would have been made up of a number of shops and local businesses.
Planners looking to develop on the site have now changed their minds and want to build a mix of two and three bed houses in its place. According to the planning documents, there was a “lack of interest” in the proposed retail units and the applicant believes the housing will “better cater for the needs of local people”.
Planning officers working with the applicant, Besh Limited, have stated that the removal of the public plaza was “regrettable”, due to the “public benefit it would provide to the village”, but believe that the area may have become “an under-utilised space”. Instead, the applicant has decided to place a ‘village community square’ on the site, a small space that will host a Parish notice board, market stalls and a Christmas tree pit.
Residents have expressed anger towards the changes in the planned development and many have raised strong objections on the district council’s website. One resident said: “Removing vital amenities for additional housing in the centre of the village is an absurd idea. The village has expanded rapidly within recent years with very little public amenities, shops or improvements for existing residents."
Another villager added: “Under no circumstances should this new proposal be allowed, the original application was only agreed with the shops, plaza and car parking , with the stipulation that the village needing the amenities ,especially now with all the housing applications you have already approved to destroy the village and condemn us to mindless traffic and parking issues."