TOWN leaders unanimously voted against controversial plans to build hundreds of homes on unused land.
Members of the public greeted the vote with cheers as East Staffordshire Borough Councillors rejected plans, by St Modwen Properties, at the council’s planning meeting yesterday.
The plans were to build 660 houses on land south of Branston, with the developer also promising £5 million to Rykneld Primary School, and a £700,000 contribution to secondary education. Warehouse space would also be built.
But the application will now go to the planning inspectorate who could still the green light to the plans.
Mike Ackroyd, chairman of Branston Parish Council, welcomed the news.
After the decision he said: “It is a fantastic result – the council has turned the application down which has got to be good news.”
The application, which has been in the pipeline since November 2011, has faced fierce opposition from Branston Parish Council and Branston Action Group.
Speaking during yesterday’s planning meeting, Mr Ackroyd said: “We are totally against this development where access should not be through an already congested main street.”
Judith Etheridge, of Branston Action Group, said he had concerns over pulverised fly ash (PFA), left-over by-products from industrial work in the 1960s, on the proposed site.
She said: “I have lived in Branston for 13 years. We don’t want to houses, extra shops or warehouses.
“Access to the site is too small and is an accident waiting to happen. With the PFA, I dread to think what it will do to our health.”
But Ian Romano, senior development surveyor at St Modwen, mounted a stern defence of the plans, saying all concerns had been considered by the appropriate regulators.
He said: “None of the regulators have objected to the proposals.
“The site falls within the development boundary in Burton and there is the potential to create 1,500 jobs.”