08:00 Thursday 29 November 2012

Anger at homes approval on open countryside

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

COUNCIL bosses faced a public backlash as plans to create a housing development near Burton were approved.

Eton Ward borough councillor Ron Clarke
Planning committee member Ron Clarke

East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning committee pushed through proposals to build 21 homes on empty land in Meadow View, Rolleston.

Residents were concerned that other greenfield sites close to the site could be put at risk, fearing the development could eventually turn into ‘70 or 80 houses’, and expressed their disappointment at the perceived lack of consultation in the area.

Councillors were in agreement however that the proposed two-and-a-half storey house were unacceptable and only approved the development on the condition they would be altered in the plans.

It was not a smooth decision-making process by any means, and despite suggestions the plans should be deferred, the proposals were given the green light.

Greg Hall, chairman of the council’s planning committee said councillors faced a ‘very difficult decision’.

Committee member Ron Clarke criticised the decision in light of local feeling, saying it ‘made a mockery’ of the consultation process.

He said: “The reason why I object is because the whole purpose is to engage with the parish council and residents to discuss the application and come forward with an alternative plan.”

Rolleston Parish Council chairman Barry Edwards said: “My concern is the prematurity of the decision. Localism empowers communities to comment on how it is developed. This decision is denying members of the community the human right of determining how the village is developed.”

Phillip Russell, who lives in Meadow View, adjacent to the site, added: “I’m very disappointed. I feel that the hard, hard work that has been put into the neighbourhood plan in Rolleston has not had a chance to play a part in the plans.

“We were all excited by the Government’s idea of localism, but it’s fallen flat at the first hurdle.”

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