Controversial plan for new homes defended by council

Concern ... the site earmarked for homes
Concern ... the site earmarked for homes

Newick Parish Council has published an online letter to residents concerned about development plans in the village.

The council wants to proceed to build homes on land it owns between Vernons Road and The Rough.

Prescribed in Newick’s Neighbourhood Plan, it is to have either a pair of semi-detached houses or a pair of semi-detached bungalows built on the site with access from The Rough.

A number of residents living nearby attended a meeting of the council’s Planning Committee last month when the matter was discussed.

Among questions raised was that during consultation in 2013, 30 per cent of those who voted were not in favour of developing the site, which was once temporarily used as a children’s play area.

The council’s response was that 71.3 per cent were in favour of development making it the third most popular of the 12 sites considered.

As more than two sites were required to provide for 100 homes, this site had to be considered.

Other concerns included the loss of open space and street parking in The Rough.

The council said it believed the loss of the unkempt area would not be significant, and there is no automatic right to street parking. All houses in the area have garages and hard standing for vehicles.

In response to a suggestion there appeared to be no reason for the covenant on the land to be removed, the council said it has been unused for several decades but has to be maintained at the council’s expense.

The parish has to provide sites for the 100 homes and this site would contribute to allowing that.

The suggestion that the land be planted to attract wildlife was put forward but the council said no such proposal had been made before, not even during the extensive consultation efforts made in developing the Neighbourhood Plan over 30 months.

Urged to withdraw the homes scheme and review the Neighbourhood Plan, the council said: “There is currently no provision for review of Neighbourhood Plans. The Government has mooted the possibility of making such provision in the future, but has not yet implemented any associated legislation or guidance.”