More homes approved despite deep concerns

New homes
New homes

Councillors have given outline permission for a development of 61 houses after finding no legal basis to throw it out.

Developer Manor Oak Homes, of Walsgrave, Northants, wants to build 61 homes in open countryside off Wistow Road in Kibworth Harcourt.

Its outline proposal – approval in principal but with matters reserved for fine detail – was up before the planning committee of Harborough District Council on Tuesday night.

Councillors heard a similar application for 66 homes at the site had been refused by the committee in March due to concerns over sustainability, and its impact on both Kibworth Harcourt’s conservation area and nearby listed buildings.

Resident John Hooley, the chairman of Kibworth’s Neighbourhood Planning Group, told councillors the proposal would “further stress our already strained services”.

“It’s in a poor location for houses and close to the busy A6,” he added.

Ward councillor Chris Holyoak said the extra residents could “break the back of doctors’ surgeries” in the village and would result in “demonstrable harm to infrastructure”. He said it was the “tip of a very big iceberg”, claiming the developer is looking to develop two further phases of homes next to this one.

And fellow ward councillor Phil King termed it a “Trojan horse” and urged councillors not to be “bamboozled” by the developer.

Despite these concerns, Adrian Eastwood, the council’s head of development control, told members there were no legal reasons why the plan should not be approved.

He said Manor Oak Homes had now satisfied the previous problems raised with the site.

Geoff Armstrong, speaking for the developer, said any issues had now dealt with and there was no reason to block it.

Several councillors said they felt this new plan was not much different to the last one.

Cllr Amanda Burrell said: “I have huge sympathy with what people have said.”

After 30 minutes’ debate, the plan was put to a vote – four votes were in favour, four against and one abstention.

This deadlock meant the casting vote would go to the committee chairman – or vice-chairman Cllr Janette Ackerley in this case as usual chairman Cllr Chris Holyoak had to leave the room after speaking against the plan.

Cllr Ackerley said: “I’ve listened very carefully to all the issues. I do feel there are no grounds to actually refuse this application so I will support it.”