Fight continues against new 'monster' 2,000-home estate on the edge of Harborough

Furious local councillors and campaigners vowed to unite to stop the scheme in its tracks

By Red Williams
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 5:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 5:16 pm
MP Chris Heaton-Harris on the left with East Farndon parish councillors
MP Chris Heaton-Harris on the left with East Farndon parish councillors

Efforts to stop any attempt to build a new “monster” 2,000-home estate between Market Harborough and East Farndon are being backed by a local MP.

Fury erupted when the controversial blueprint to push through the development on the southern edge of Market Harborough was revealed by the Harborough Mail last October.

Furious local councillors and campaigners vowed to unite to stop the scheme in its tracks.

The site where the new homes could be built

Now Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris, who represents East Farndon, has paid a special visit to the village to get behind the outraged local community.

The Conservative MP held talks with parish councillors who have sworn to fight any future bid to build the massive estate on farming land off the Market Harborough road.

“Our local MP Chris Heaton-Harris visited East Farndon to meet with members of the East Farndon Parish Council (EFPC) and to see for himself, the size, scale and locations of the proposed major housing development between East Farndon and Market Harborough,” said the parish council.

“He has confirmed his 100 per cent support for the EFPC objections to these developments and will do everything he can to support us in preventing these plans from going ahead.

The site where the new homes could be built

“The latest situation is that West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) are not including these development proposals in their strategic plan, but Harborough District Council (HDC) still regard them as a potential option to include in their upcoming strategic plan,” said the parish council.

“EFPC will continue to work hard, together with our ward councillors and Chris Heaton-Harris to convince both WNC and HDC to scrap these proposals as soon as possible.”

Cllr Phil Knowles, who leads the Liberal Democrats on Harborough council, warned in October: “I have very serious concerns about this – and I will fight it tooth and nail.

“We all know that this is in the very early stages as the land between Market Harborough and East Farndon is just being looked at and eyed up at the moment.

“But that’s why it’s so vital we all come together now to make sure this never gets off the ground.

“It’s no good waiting until this time next year when we’re so far down the road that it’s too late to do anything,” insisted Cllr Knowles.

“Bringing 7,000 or 8,000 more people right on to our doorsteps over the next few years would be absolutely catastrophic.

“It would have a gigantic impact on the creaking infrastructure of Market Harborough – and beyond.”

Peter Pollak, 76, who heads up the Open Spaces conservation group in Harborough, told the Mail: “We have to stop this because I don’t think Market Harborough will cope if it happens.

“This is a true monster – and it’s shocking.

“All of the 8,000 or so people who would live there would come into Market Harborough to shop, to go to the doctor’s, to attend school.

“Daventry, their nearest town in Northamptonshire, is at least half an hour away from East Farndon.

“So they’d stream into Market Harborough instead – and it would be disastrous, we’d be over-run,” said Peter.

“We were promised so many new resources and services here on Farndon Fields – and we are still waiting years later.

“We just cannot afford to carry on losing all of our precious open space as our priceless outdoors get ripped away from us.

“I am appealing to everyone who lives in Market Harborough, East Farndon and the whole area to tell West Northamptonshire Council that this is a total non-starter.”

Days later West Northamptonshire Council moved to try to douse the growing firestorm by insisting that it was not proposing the land as a “potential spatial option for allocation in the West Northamptonshire Strategic Plan”.

As for Harborough council, Cllr Phil King, its leader, told the Mail at the time: “We’d only ever want to develop there if we had an unmet need for housing here in Harborough.

“And we are currently looking at 250 possible development sites across our own district.

“So I can’t imagine that we’d want to build in this area – which is outside our district - for the foreseeable future.

“And that means decades.

“I am not expecting to see this site coming up in our next Local Plan – which covers the period from 2021-2041,” stressed Cllr King.