08:31 Monday 03 February 2014

Issues voiced on 18 houses in Rocester are 'misleading' - applicant claims

Written byJENNY MOODY

THE man behind a controversial housing plan for 18 new homes in Rocester has hit back at concerns raised by councillors.

Frank Gregory has been granted preliminary permission by East Staffordshire Borough Council to build 18 houses on Eyes Farm, in Dove Lane, but was left feeling put out by some of the comments made by councillors.

Chris Smith, who covers the Churnet ward, said the committee needed to think about issues including archaeology, access, impact on the character of the area and flooding.

However, Mr Gregory said he had provided all the studies needed to support the application when it was submitted to the authority.

The landowner responded to each of the issued raised.

He said: “I can confirm that the proposed site is not on a flood plain and this has been verified by the Environment Agency.

“In addition to this I have lived in the village of Rocester for 60 years and on Dove Lane for 30.

“To the best of my knowledge this area has never been subject to flooding and certainly never been under a foot of water.

“An archaeology survey was completed 20 years ago along with an archaeology dig.

“Nothing of any substance was found.

“Following this, a recent survey also concluded the land was something of no importance.”

In response to concerns raised by councillors about road safety near Dove First School, Mr Gregory said: “The Highway Agency has passed the access routes to the site to be satisfactory.

“Finally, in response to the comment made about the density of housing on the site, the original government housing plan allocated the construction of 19 houses yet only 18 are in the plan.”

At the meeting, a representative for Mr Gregory told councillors the plans would house some of the 2,500 workers that are expected to join JCB when the expansion plans are completed in 2018.

Councillors sitting on the planning committee granted preliminary permission for the houses despite significant opposition from people living in the village.

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