PLANNING chiefs look likely to approve a controversial 140-home development in Uttoxeter on Monday – despite thousands of protestors signing a petition to block it.
East Staffordshire Borough Council planning officer Jonathan Imber has recommended his peers pass the Roycroft Farm application at Monday’s committee meeting.
Mr Imber’s recommendation comes despite 3,000 Uttoxeter residents signing the Picknall Valley Preservation Group’s (PVPG) petition against the new houses.
The group is worried that, if the Roycroft Farm site, owned by former Uttoxeter mayor Bob Barker, is approved, it will signal the ‘destruction’ of the Picknall valley.
It claims the Government’s rejection of the borough council’s initial local plan, which will decide where Uttoxeter is developed in the next 15 years, has allowed developer Gleeson to exploit a ‘legal loophole’.
A revised local plan, which does not include the Roycroft site, has now been submitted to central government.
PVPG’s Graham Paskett said: “This legal loophole is being exploited by developers but is the fault of borough planners, who got their sums wrong in their first plan but, to meet government targets, are now proposing the destruction of the valley.
“Planning officers are discounting 36 per cent of all the houses to be built, including those on Park Farm and the former JCB site in the town, claiming they will not be completed within five years, yet accept that all the 140 houses in the valley will be built within that period.
“They are suggesting that none of the sites within the plan will fully meet the five-year housing shortfall.
“Uttoxeter, which represents 13 per cent of the population of East Staffordshire, is, according to ESBC figures, being forced to accept more than 17 per cent of the borough’s housing needs.”