BURTON’S MP has learned that the Secretary of State for communities and local government will now decide the fate of a controversial planning appeal.
Andrew Griffiths revealed he had received written conformation that Eric Pickles would now have the final say on the College Fields application in Rolleston, after a four-day hearing decided to uphold East Staffordshire Borough Council’s decision to refuse the planning application.
A report is now being prepared by the Planning Inspectorate, which will be presented to Mr Pickles before he makes his final decision .
In the letter to Mr Griffiths, Nick Boles, parliamentary Under Secretary of State for planning, said: “Thank you for your letter requesting the recovery of an appeal concerning residential development at the College Fields site in Rolleston.
“I have carefully considered the request and I have decided to recover the appeal.
“As the inquiry has closed, the Planning Inspectorate will now prepare a report for the Secretary of State, which will include a recommendation as to whether or not the appeal should be allowed.
“I should add that the decision to recover the appeal cannot be seen as an indicator to the way it will ultimately be determined.”
The borough council’s planning committee turned down the plans in November because they were in direct conflict with the village’s neighbourhood development plan, which is in its final stages.
The site, which was the field of the former Forest of Needwood School, is earmarked for development in the borough council’s emerging local plan, but as it has not yet been adopted councillors concluded the neighbourhood plan had more weight.
Residents are worried the development would cause huge traffic problems and make the area unsafe for people living there, among other issues.