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Refusal of 200-home Penkridge estate plan comes under fire from developer

By Dayna Farrington | Penkridge | Property | Published:

Controversial plans to build up to 200 homes in Penkridge have come under fire at a public inquiry.

The proposals are to build up to 200 homes off the busy A449 Stafford Road, in Penkridge. Photo: Google Maps

Plans for the new estate in the north of the village, off the A449 Stafford Road, backing on to Nursery Drive, were refused by South Staffordshire Council last summer.

The planning committee threw out the plans, despite council officials backing them, due to fears services in the village would not be able to cope with the influx of new residents.

There have also been concerns about the rate the village has been allowed to grow.

The plans came after about 300 homes were built at the nearby Lyne Hill Industrial Estate.

Now, the developer Bloor Homes Limited is hoping a planning inspector will allow the plans to be given the green light.

A four-day public planning inquiry, which began on Tuesday at the council’s Codsall offices, will determine if the proposals should be given the go-ahead.

Mr Ian Ponter, representing the council at the inquiry, said: “The provision of a policy-compliant level of affordable housing is recognised as a significant benefit.

"Other claimed benefits are either generic – the generation of construction jobs that would be associated with any significant new-build project – or are effects that are unsupported by clear evidence of tangible benefit – there is no evidence that local services and facilities in Penkridge are at risk without an injection of additional spending from the proposed dwellings.

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“They claim that the appeal scheme will deliver environmental benefits. The council profoundly disagrees. The appeal scheme will generate environmental impacts, but they will be harmful.

“The development of almost 10 hectares of open countryside will cause harm to landscape character and visual amenity, and will lead to the loss of valuable, good quality agricultural land. The council requests that the appeal is dismissed.”

Mr Christopher Young QC, representing Bloor Homes Limited, told the inquiry the proposals would deliver ‘much-needed new housing’ and 40 per cent affordable housing.

He added: “This is a proposal for up to 200 dwellings, an access roundabout on Stafford Road, public open space, landscaping and associated infrastructure. The council has neither a local plan or a five-year supply of housing land.

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“Unsurprisingly the proposal was recommended for approval by the professional planning officers of the council.

"The single reason for refusal refers only to the fact the site is located in the open countryside and when there is no five-year supply of housing land that really is not a credible reason to refuse planning permission.

“It is recognised that the development will mean the loss of greenfield and there is some inevitable landscape harm.

"But that harm is very limited. The benefits of this proposal are extensive, including the new open space, the investments in improved linkages and the economic benefits of building new homes and the additional local spending.

“New houses are needed to boost significantly the supply of housing in all parts of the country.

"Penkridge is no exception. There is no illusion this council is seriously underperforming on its housing delivery.”

The hearing continues.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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