Parish council vows to fight Great Bowden homes plan

Villagers packed the meeting last week
Villagers packed the meeting last week

A controversial plan to put 70 new homes on land in Great Bowden has been strongly opposed by more than 120 people at a village meeting.

Villagers fear that the new development would close the small gap between Great Bowden and near-neighbour Market Harborough, and push the pretty village towards being a town suburb.

And parish council chairman Paul Claxton told the Mail this week: “That will never happen, as long as I’m drawing breath.

“Great Bowden pre-dates Market Harborough. We’re a village that goes back to the Domesday Book, and we will stay a village.”

Villagers packed Great Bowden Village Hall to hear about the 70 house estate proposed by Redrow Homes.

Redrow Homes has not yet submitted a planning application to Harborough District Council.

But the developer has sent letters and a questionnaire to 500 residents in Great Bowden explaining its intentions for a site off Station Road and Berry Close in the village.

At last week’s meeting, local district councillor Phil Knowles called for residents not to complete the building consultants’ questions.

“I suggested to the meeting that residents should avoid answering the questions marking the reply ‘the land is not suitable for development’” said Cllr Knowles.

“And the support for my proposal was very clear. It was unanimous.”

Cllr Knowles added that the residents should prepare to fight any subsequent planning application for Berry Close, should it arise.

“The real fight will begin if and when an application comes to the planning authority.

“The meeting made it clear, they are up for the fight and the residents attending made it very clear. They intend to fight to stop any building on the land off Berry Close.”

Cllr Knowles pledged to back the residents and was supported by fellow ward councillors Sarah Hill and Barry Chapman.

Mr Claxton told The Mail that four previous bids for houses on the same land had been rejected by planners over the last 20 years.

Cllr Knowles urged residents to back the parish council in its quest to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.

He said: “It’s a very important document but in reality it could take up to two years to complete. The sooner the process begins the better.”