600 home estate gets approved for Market Harborough

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Library image

A big new Market Harborough estate of 600 homes was approved this week by Harborough district planners.

The 88-acre site extends from the top of Clack Hill, on the right of Kettering Road, right down to the railway line, and then behind Shrewsbury Avenue and The Heights.

The Overstone Park estate will bring around 1,500 new people to the town over the next 10 years.

The major plan, passed on Tuesday night, also includes a new primary school with sports hall, a local centre including shops and health facilities and around 30 acres of public open space.

The estate would be accessed via a new roundabout off Kettering Road and through new vehicular links from the small new Overstone House estate.

A second larger roundabout at the Kettering Road/A6 junction would allow traffic to turn right onto Kettering Road from the A-road, which is currently prohibited.

That will encourage new estate traffic to approach the estate from the A6 rather than through the town. Nevertheless, traffic lights will be considered for the railway bridge at the foot of Kettering Road.

Overstone Park’s agent David Lane told Tuesday night’s planning committee: “It’s a well-designed scheme of up to 600 homes.”

Objectors to the scheme included the influential Market Harborough Civic Society.

Society chairman John Tillotson said: “Kettering Road would be choked with traffic, and there’s already a bottleneck at the bottom of the hill, under the railway bridge.

“It’s too much, too soon for Market Harborough – too many houses are being built before a proper infrastructure can be created.”

Braybrooke Parish Council said the huge development on rising ground would “detract from the natural beauty” of the valley it overlooked. Other local objectors said the development would “generate a totally unacceptable level of traffic”, be visually overpowering and in causing road gridlock be bad for Market Harborough.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Cllr Derek Evans said he thought the new development was also “intrusive into the countryside” and too widely visible.

But council officers recommended approving the plan, reminding councillors they had still not achieved a five-year housing supply and Overstone Park’s contribution to housing need outweighed any visual impact.

In proposing the scheme’s approval, Cllr Bill Liquorish praised a comprehensive report on the development.

The scheme was overwhelmingly approved by councillors, with only Cllr Evans voting against it.