3:00pm Friday 18th April 2014
HOUSING scheme opponent Gill Hampton has told the Guardian of her disappointment at the go-ahead for proposals in Little Leigh which have divided a community.
Muir Group Housing Association is to build eight affordable homes off Brakeley Lane on the edge of Little Leigh. The plans provoked strong reactions, with a large number of people sending comments in to Cheshire West and Chester Council supporting and opposing the scheme.
Villagers voted by 178 to 66 against the scheme in a parish survey in December.
The application also split Little Leigh Parish Council, which voted by three to two to oppose the plans because local need for the homes had not been demonstrated and there was concern local people would not be eligible for the homes.
Gill has lived on Brakeley Lane for more than 20 years, and spoke at the planning committee meeting on behalf of 13 homes on the lane and the 60 villagers she said were opposed to the scheme.
She said she was ‘extremely disappointed’ at approval for the plans.
“I am not against affordable housing, but brown sites and empty houses should be used first before building on the green belt,” she said.
“This is an inappropriate development for a rural village, not only in style but on being affordable. The site needs a lot spent on it, which all adds to the eventual house price and rent charged.
“These added costs include levelling the site and the removal of contaminates such as mercury found in soil tests “It remains to be seen whether or not it will benefit local people. At least the councillors put in a condition that the houses will be for local people or who have a link with the village.”
The parish council said it was not opposed to affordable housing, and if permission was granted it wanted to see an agreement to ensure the housing was occupied by local people.
CHESHIRE West planning committee members voted by eight to three to approve the scheme despite the concerns, on condition that the development is fully affordable housing and priority is given to local people.
The houses will be built on a triangle piece of land next to the village, which is in the green belt.
The homes will be arranged around a central turning area, with a new access off Brakeley Lane.
A case officer said the housing would meet an identified local need which would help support the sustainability of the community.
Opponents said there were poor transport links, the narrow roads could not take more traffic and the form of development was too dense.
Supporters said the scheme would protect and sustain village life by providing homes for young families who cannot afford to live in the village.
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