Harborough villagers applaud as 170-home plan is refused

Harborough District Council
Harborough District Council

“Overjoyed” villagers burst into applause as a controversial 170-home estate was at last refused by council planners.

The refusal meant the end of a two-year saga with more twists than a thriller, for the scheme for 170 homes on land north of Oaks Road, Great Glen.

Great Glen parish councillor Anne Parrott said she was “overjoyed” at Tuesday night’s planning decision. “It was touch and go wasn’t it?” she said.

“That particular plan is dead, but I imagine the developers will come back with something else.”

The scheme was first rejected by planners in March 2017.

But developers Miller Homes Ltd had already bypassed the council and gone straight to a planning appeal, because council planners took more than 13 weeks to reach a decision.

The Hands Off Great Glen group, supported by Great Glen Parish Council then put together a “strong case” to support the council’s original decision, employing their own experts to oppose the Miller Homes scheme.

In the meantime, Miller went back to the council with a very slightly amended scheme. Planners approved it in July, 2017.

But the appeal went ahead, and in October an independent Planning Inspector rejected the Miller Homes estate, saying it would cause “significant harm to the local landscape”.

The plan came back to the council in September this year, looking - said many councillors - more built-up even than the original controversial plan. They deferred a decision, asking Miller Homes to look again at land levels and drainage.

Which brings us to this week, when Miller Homes were deemed not to have done enough to win council approval.

Planners finally rejected the plan, making a total of two rejections, one approval and a deferral over 20 months.

“I just find this an embarrassment” summed up Cllr Sindy Modha at Tuesday night’s meeting. “It’s not a very good location and this isn’t the best scheme... We’ve got to stand tall and say that this scheme is not acceptable.”