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  6. Minister backs development near Leicester but rejects Thurrock project

Minister backs development near Leicester but rejects Thurrock project

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has given the green light for a major new neighbourhood on the north-western flank of Leicester which had been refused by Blaby District Council.

The proposals by developer Wilson Bowden included plans for up to 250 new homes, a local centre, some 30 hectares of employment uses, allotments, an energy centre, a wildlife area and public open space including a children’s play area.

The minister’s decision was in line with the recommendation of the planning inspector who held a public inquiry six months ago.

The decision letter acknowledged that the scheme conflicted with a saved policy from the Blaby District Plan and that there were doubts about the provision of footpath linkages. There was also significant local opposition to the plans from local residents.

However, the minister went on to argue that those factors needed to be balanced against “the clear need for housing, including affordable housing, which would be delivered by way of a well designed, sustainable development and that the proposal would also help meet an identified need for employment land”.

In a separate development the Secretary of State rejected proposals for a major employment scheme at Aveley, South Ockenden, in Essex, proposed by the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation.

The scheme involved some 86,700 sq m of development (mainly B1, B2 and B8 uses) and included plans for a hotel on a 35hectare site next to a restored landfill south of the A13.

The minister agreed with the planning inspector who held a public inquiry in April that the benefits of the proposals were limited while the harm to Green Belt, the regeneration of the urban area of Thurrock and to sustainability was “substantial”.

Download the Leicester decision letter and inspector’s report.

Download the South Ockenden decision letter and inspector’s report.

 

Roger Milne

27 October 2011