400 home plan for Harborough village refused planning permission

An indicative plan for the development with Warwick Road to the southeast of the site, and Wistow Road along the northern edge
An indicative plan for the development with Warwick Road to the southeast of the site, and Wistow Road along the northern edge

A much-hated scheme - branded a “carbuncle” - to build 400 homes in a Harborough village was thrown out by councillors on Tuesday night.

The controversial 88-acre project in the Kibworths was overwhelmingly rejected by Harborough District Council’s planning committee.

Councillors acted after planning officers recommended that they refuse planning permission because the giant development was not needed.

The bitter battle to block the blueprint has almost certainly been won because developer Manor Oaks Homes told the Harborough Mail they would not be appealing.

Jubilant Cllr Stephen Woodhouse, chairman of Kibworth Beauchamp Parish Council, said after speaking against the huge initiative: “I’m delighted that this has been knocked on the head once and for all.

“It’s simply too big – and is plain wrong.

“This application shouldn’t have been brought in the first place because it’s wasted council officers’ valuable time and everyone else’s time as well.”

He added: “An estate this big would have been bad for pollution, air quality and traffic congestion.

“It was an absolute non-starter.”

Cllr Kevin Feltham, chairman of Kibworth Harcourt Parish Council, also fiercely opposed the sprawling proposal in the 30-minute meeting.

He said later: “We’ve got the result we wanted and villagers in both the Kibworths will be thrilled.

“It was the wrong development in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The meeting heard from Harborough MP Neil O’Brien that the massive scheme would have a devastating impact on the local landscape, air quality and ecology.

“I object to this in the strongest possible terms,” said Mr O’Brien.

Cllr Simon Whelband, a district councillor for the Kibworths, said the estate would have flouted both the Harborough Local Plan and Kibworth Neighbourhood Plan.

He said: “This has got to be refused because it’s just too big and it isn’t needed.”

Cllr Paul Bremner, district councillor for Lubenham, said: “To quote His Majesty Prince Charles this is a carbuncle on a much-loved community.

“It’s clearly against both the Local Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan.”

Nobody spoke to support the scheme and it was unanimously turned down.

William Main, a director of Walgrave-based developer Manor Oak Homes, said outside the meeting: “We have got the result we were expecting.

“I’m not surprised or disappointed and we won’t be appealing against this decision.”