11:01 Friday 07 February 2014

Roycroft developers hit back at their detractors

Written byRICHARD CASTLE

07/01/14 pic of housing protestor - Uttoxeter, UttoxeterShots taken of Bramshall Rd, regarding access to Picknalls Valley Development, with John Faulkner 07/01/14 pic of housing protestor - Uttoxeter, UttoxeterShots taken of Bramshall Rd, regarding access to Picknalls Valley Development, with John Faulkner

DEVELOPERS have met with Uttoxeter officials in a bid to convince them a 140-home scheme is needed to address a shortage in housing supply.

Plans to build the homes on land at Roycroft Farm, off Bramshall Road, have been met with fierce public opposition across Uttoxeter.

More than 2,000 people signed a petition against the proposals.

However, developer Gleeson wants to ‘clarify some very relevant points’ made during a long-running public debate.

The firm has distanced itself from a rejected application on the same land in 1989.

Scott Chamberlin, managing director of Gleeson Strategic Land, said: “We attended the town council meeting on January 14 and listened to the debate.

“Firstly, the 1988 planning application was submitted over 25 years ago and subsequently refused in April 1989.

“It was promoted by a different applicant, on a different site against a completely different policy background.

“It is therefore naïve and incorrect to suggest this should influence, let alone determine, the outcome of a new planning application submitted in 2013.

“The previous application included three fields, only one of which is common to the new application, the access points are in different positions and the circumstances of the case and the planning system has, of course, totally changed in the meantime.

“There is now a ‘presumption on favour of sustainable development’ where local authorities have a shortage in their five-year housing land supply, as in the case in this instance.

“It is also equivalent to both the Hazelwalls and West-of-Uttoxeter sites, but Roycroft Farm is more accessible and much better connected to the town centre.

“The potential of the site as well as any impact on the character, landscape, ecology, hydrology and appearance of the area have been thoroughly tested in our technical work.”

Mr Chamberlin has dismissed protest petitions like the one collated by the Picknall Valley Preservation Group as ‘a poor judge of public opinion’, citing public consultation events that saw nearly half those in attendance say Roycroft Farm was a suitable site for development.

Company chiefs also claim the development would have little impact on traffic on Bramshall Road and Stone Road due to strong footpath and cycle links.

Mr Chamberlin said: “All sites will generate some additional traffic, but traffic impact will obviously vary depending on the scale, location and the design of sites.

“Since Roycroft Farm is closer to the town centre and local facilities and has better footpath and cycle links, the number of car journeys would be sharply reduced.

“Contrary to the comments by local objectors - there are no highway objections to the Roycroft Farm accesses nor are there any concerns about the volume of traffic.”

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