A CONTROVERSIAL new housing development to serve JCB's future workforce has moved a step closer after planners granted outline planning permission.
Bamford Properties has been given initial permission for the 53-home project on land east of Ashbourne Road, in Rocester.
If given final approval, the development will neighbour a proposed new school in the village incorporating Dove First School and Ryecroft Middle School.
It already looks set to see 90 new homes built at Churnet Farm and 18 homes erected at Eyes Farm.
Addressing an East Staffordshire Borough Council planning committee meeting on Monday, villager David Yorke questioned the need for the development.
He said: "The local plan dictated Rocester needed 115 new houses and we're getting 90 at Churnet Farm.
"Of the other 25, 20 have already been granted planning permission.
"This development is also outside the agreed settlement boundary and is not a project for the benefit of the public – it's a private development.
"While the new school may have parking for staff, it's unlikely it'll include space for parents to park.
"Therefore, the drop-off and pick-up area is likely to be next to the entrance of this site.
"Also, Ashbourne Road is regularly flooded in stormy conditions and the drainage is inadequate, with sewage spilling out of the drains during heavy rain."
JCB representative Grant Anderson said: "This development is not solely about commercial gain. It will benefit the community.
"Much of our investment in expanding the business will be in the Rocester World Headquarters and there's a shortage of local housing to accommodate the 2,500 new jobs we'll be creating.
"This is part of our wider investment strategy and this need for housing was not known when the local plan was announced.
"We're very focussed on acquiring the land currently housing Ryecroft School so we can enhance our education and training facilities in the area."
The flood risk assessment carried out by East Staffordshire Borough Council found there would be no increased risk of flooding if the development was built.