‘Ongoing nightmare’ continues as villagers face more battles over housing

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An ongoing nightmare that could led to the destruction of a village and a significant strain on infrastructure on the edge of Market Harborough.

That is how residents in Great Bowden have described their situation in what will be an important few weeks for the village.

As the Mail went to press, an appeal was being heard by the Planning Inspectorate over proposals to build 70 homes in Berry Close, after the developers, Redrow Homes, appealled against Harborough District Council’s refusal.

And while this is going on, Langton Developments Ltd has put in an application to build 40 homes off Dingley Road - although villagers believe it will eventually led to many more than this if they are approved.

Villagers in Great Bowden are used to these situations, having successfully fought off many applications at Berry Close. And a proposal to build 50 homes at Welham Lane has already been approved.

Now the villagers have come out fighting once again - and, as like before, they have plenty of support.

Their local councillors - Cllr Barry Champion, Cllr Sarah Hill and Cllr Phil Knowles - have once again given them their backing. And their MP, Sir Edward Garnier, has spoken out strongly against the plans.

In a letter to the district council’s planning applications and connections team leader, Nicola Parry, he said: “The infrastructure of Great Bowden in the widest sense of that term is simply not capable of coping with this massive increase and it would be a pity to destroy the village to permit developers to make large sums of money for themselves without any corresponding benefit to the village.

Villagers fear the extra homes would not only destroy the village but in fact turn it into a suburb of Market Harborough.

Speaking at the Berry Close Planning Inquiry, which started yesterday (Wednesday), Cllr Phil Knowles said: “This application has the potential for a negative impact on the 
village.

“The infrastructure is stretched and this is not a suitable site for the development.”

In reference to the fact that the application has been brought forward so many times, he added: “I was blond-haired and a dad when this first came forward. Now I’m grey-haired and a grandfather and we are still fighting it.”