Village home plans sent back to developer for redesign

Plans to add 40 extra homes to a rural development currently under construction have been sent back by Stafford Borough councillors for a redesign.

Little Tixall Lane In Great Haywood. Photo: Google Maps
Little Tixall Lane In Great Haywood. Photo: Google Maps

Planning permission has already been granted for the site off Little Tixall Lane in Great Haywood. But developer Lovell is now seeking consent to increase the number of homes on the site by more than 50 per cent.

On September 1, members of Stafford Borough Council’s planning committee raised concerns about the decrease in green space on the new estate if the extra homes were allowed, as well as the lack of pedestrian access to services in Great Haywood.

The application was called in for committee consideration by ward councillor Alexander Brown on the grounds the increase in homes would lead to more traffic on Coley Lane, potential loss of green space and extra strain on local amenities.

Colwich Parish Council member Andrew Dunn, who spoke against the application at the meeting, said: “Great Haywood is designated a key service village in the Stafford Borough Local Plan. As a result we have seen several recent developments in the area, providing circa 170 new dwellings, within a village with little to no improvements to infrastructure.

“Great Haywood has seen an increase in flooding in recent years which has significantly affected residents including those living in Main Road, The Uplands and Little Tixall Lane.

“Outline permission was granted for 77 new dwellings with the scale being considered to be acceptable at the time. This application seeks to considerably increase the number of dwellings by 52 per cent.

“The increase in proposed development is unsustainable in relation to Great Haywood and there is a lack of safe pedestrian access to the village. There are still no pavements along Little Tixall Lane.”

Ward councillor Brendan McKeown described the latest plans as “development by stealth”.

“There is a long history on this site going back eight years”, he said. “Back in 2013, testing the water, they put 157 houses in a planning application to see what happened and quite rightly it was turned down. Six months later the application comes back and says only 77 houses and that’s more acceptable.

“This development needs to be better not bigger. Cramming in 40 more families is not making it better.

“Where are the local amenities? There are none – a parade of shops or even a pub may help, or a pedestrian access into Great Haywood. Pavements on Little Tixall Lane are non-existent.

“Everyone on this estate will be required to drive a car. This isn’t going to help climate change.”

But Adrian Seabridge, who spoke in support of the application, said the site had already been allocated for housing in both the Stafford Borough Local Plan and Colwich Neighbourhood Plan. He added: “Following an extensive consultation and detailed examination of this application your officers have recommended approval.

“A national report indicates the shortage of new homes is higher than at any time in the past and the application before you will provide an additional 40, including much-needed affordable homes. It will take pressure off greenfield sites in the borough.

“The first homes are already under construction on the site and the application provides open space, enhanced play facilities, an ecological corridor and sustainable urban drainage systems. An attenuation pond has been designed to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

Committee member Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge, who proposed the plans be sent back to the applicant for redesign, said the proposed reduction of green space on the site went against policy.

“The applicant keeps changing it – this sort of thing really winds me up”, she said. “The ecological corridor is being squashed. I’m really against this.

“We have just been locked up for a year and a half and everyone has said how leisure spaces and getting out into green space are so important.”

Councillor Marnie Phillips said: “I’m disappointed to see a lot of trees have been removed from the street scene. This developer seems to have a lack of imagination, resulting in the same style of boring car parking street style.

“We have seen this all over the borough and refused it time and time again. It’s quite unimaginative and then you are removing extra trees that would make it look less of a car parking area.

“We have to remember this development is in a beautiful area. If you are not enhancing the area then what are you doing? Why are people going to want to come and live in shoeboxes on an estate that has been down-designed? I’m really disappointed with this.”

Councillor Jill Hood said: “This development is isolated and there are no facilities. There is nowhere for families to socialise and no shops or pubs. Mental health will suffer – I wouldn’t want to be stuck on this isolated development.

“We need to be reducing our carbon footprint – how can we do that with all this additional traffic? The people who buy these houses are all going to have to travel to where they want to go.”

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