Plans for a ‘whole new vil­lage’ are thrown out

Leek Post & Times - - NEWS - By Les­lie Jack­son les­lie.jack­[email protected]­plc.com

PLANS to build more than 150 houses on green fields on the edge of Leek have been thrown out af­ter they were de­scribed as ‘a dan­ger­ous prece­dent.’

Mem­bers of Stafford­shire Moor­lands Dis­trict Coun­cil’s plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions com­mit­tee unan­i­mously voted to refuse per­mis­sion for the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment on land off Thorn­cliffe Road, Leek.

The land is presently owned by Leek dis­trict and town coun­cil­lor Brian John­son.

A to­tal of 177 let­ters of ob­jec­tion had been re­ceived from in­di­vid­u­als and agents re­gard­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Is­sues raised in­cluded the site is green­field; will re­sult in sprawl; should be us­ing brown­field land; roads are not suit­able for ad­di­tional traf­fic from the de­vel­op­ment; this is a gate­way to the Peak Dis­trict Na­tional Park and the de­vel­op­ment will have an ad­verse im­pact on wildlife and nat­u­ral flora.

Leek Town Coun­cil and Tittesworth Par­ish Coun­cil also ob­jected to the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Speak­ing to the plan­ning com­mit­tee on be­half of lo­cal res­i­dents, Mike Sut­cliffe said: “The case for re­fusal is clear and straight­for­ward.

“Land­scape stud­ies have iden­ti­fied this area as be­ing high sta­tus and val­ued. The lo­ca­tion, large scale and sub­ur­ban es­tate char­ac­ter of the pro­pos­als are a threat to the land­scape.

“This is a gate­way site and de­vel­op­ment would dam­age the setting of Leek and ad­versely af­fect the wider setting of the Peak Park. It would also dam­age cur­rent op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­for­mal ru­ral re­cre­ation in this area.”

Ward dis­trict coun­cil­lor, Dar­ren Price, also spoke against the pro­pos­als.

He said: “It is im­por­tant to note that the site is sur­rounded on all four sides by open coun­try­side, so the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment should not be seen as an ad­di­tion to the town of Leek, ex­tend­ing the set­tle­ment bound­ary.

“In­stead it should be viewed more as a new stand­alone de­vel­op­ment in a ru­ral area of val­ued land­scape that pro­vides the setting for the Peak Dis­trict Na­tional Park.

“It has poor con­nec­tion to the town of Leek for mo­torists, cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans.”

County, dis­trict and town coun­cil­lor, Char­lotte Atkins, also spoke to the plan­ning com­mit­tee to ob­ject to the ap­pli­ca­tion.

She said: “The pro­posed de­vel­op­ment would com­pletely change the char­ac­ter of the area in­tro­duc­ing both noise and light pol­lu­tion into this quiet and nat­u­ral open en­vi­ron­ment. This forms an im­por­tant gate­way to a spe­cial land­scape area that is a vi­tal part of the setting for the his­toric town of Leek.

“Thorn­cliffe Road is nar­row with­out foot­paths. It is reg­u­larly used by many walk­ers, horse riders and cy­clists.

“From April to Oc­to­ber it is swelled by car­a­vans as there are two lo­cal car­a­van sites as well as visi­tors.

“The road junc­tion with the A53 has lim­ited vis­i­bil­ity to traf­fic. It is on a blind bend at the top of a hill from Leek as it ap­proaches a faster un­re­stricted speed zone.”

Ob­jec­tor Karen Barker said: “It would change and dam­age the char­ac­ter of the land­scape. It is the gate­way to the Peak Park and has panoramic views and is in a prime tourist area. It is sep­a­rate from the set­tle­ment of Leek and would change the his­toric setting.”

An­other ob­jec­tor, Paul Morris, said: “This is out­side the set­tle­ment bound­ary and is de­tached from the present set­tle­ment. It would harm the spe­cial land­scape of the Peak Park which the coun­cil is bound to pro­tect.”

Speak­ing in favour of the ap­pli­ca­tion, the ap­pli­cant’s agent, Joe O’sul­li­van said there was no tech­ni­cal rea­son to ob­ject to the ap­pli­ca­tion.

He said: “There are no ob­jec­tions from the high­ways. The coun­cil has no five year hous­ing sup­ply. This is sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment and pro­vides so­cial ben­e­fits which out­weigh any harm.

“The Peak Park ob­jec­tion is re­spect­fully vastly mis­rep­re­sented. The im­pact on the coun­try­side will be low and the ap­pli­ca­tion is not in the Na­tional Park. There’s noth­ing ro­bust to refuse it.”

Plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion mem­ber, Paul Roberts, said that Ru­ral Eng­land along with the town and par­ish coun­cil had ob­jected to the pro­pos­als.

He said: “This is a sep­a­rate vil­lage. It is not in the Lo­cal Plan and is the gate­way to Leek.”

Coun­cil­lor Jim Davies said: “This is a green­field site out­side the bound­ary. It would change the land­scape.”

Chair­man of the plan­ning com­mit­tee, Stephen El­lis said: “This is a whole new vil­lage. Plonk 150 houses and it will be seen from the Peak Park and will not be a soft gate­way. It is dan­ger­ous prece­dent and is over the top.”

All 13 coun­cil­lors voted to refuse the ap­pli­ca­tion.

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