Plans for a ‘whole new village’ are thrown out
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.