Simon Galton

Liberal Democrat County & District Councillor Learn more

Local Plan shortlisted housing options: Council rejects land east of Station Lane but includes Scraptoft Golf Course for further assessment

by simongalton on 25 May, 2016

The Conservative-run Council has taken a decision to shortlist 4 housing options for further detailed analysis. By the autumn the Council hopes to announce a single preferred option for consultation which will allocate land across the District for development up to 2031.

The 4 options selected for further assessment are:

Option 2: Core Strategy Distribution (most housing in Market Harborough)

Option 5: A Strategic Development Area at Kibworth (SDA)

Option 6: An SDA at Lutterworth

Option 4: A modified version of the SDA at Scraptoft and Thurnby based on Scraptoft Golf Course

The Council consulted on 9 options last October and the decision to focus on 4 means that the other 5 have been rejected at the present time and no further work will be undertaken by the Council.

For Scraptoft, Thurnby and Bushby this means an SDA of at least 1,200 houses proposed by landowners and developers east of Station Lane / Road in the Thurnby Brook valley has been rejected. The assessment carried out by the Council concludes that the site performs poorly or not well in relation to 7 of the 11 tests undertaken. Issues including the capacity of sewerage facilities and flooding downstream were identified and this option would result in the A47 being at 84% capacity. It also had the least support from the public. Another key factor is that the site is fundamentally not viable due to high infrastructure costs and low land values.

In January Parkers of Leicester submitted a proposal for around 1,200 dwellings based on Scraptoft Golf Course. The main access to the site would be via an upgraded Keyham Lane West which runs from Hamilton Lane to the Tesco roundabout. Speaking at the Council’s Executive meeting which made the decision to investigate this proposal, I said this option had been proposed very late in the day and local people had not had an opportunity to have their say.  Unlike the other 9 options assessed to date, Scraptoft North (the name given by the promotors) has not undergone any of the tests and analysis the other sites have been subjected to. Whilst the golf club site is more contained than land off Station Lane and would rely on highway access from the City, there is no evidence to suggest that the problems identified with the original option 4 can be overcome. However, I acknowledge that a technical assessment will enable these and other issues to be fully explored.

It is also worth making the point that the development of Scraptoft North is entirely dependent on the relocation of the golf course to a new site south east of Houghton. Without this the golf club members will simply refuse to move and the site will be undeliverable. The planning considerations of a new golf course will need to form part of the assessment of this proposal.

There have been 945 houses given planning permission in Thurnby, Bushby and Scraptoft since 2011 and most of them have not been built yet. Taken together the original SDA (Option 4) off Station Lane and the Scraptoft North site would total over 2,500 dwellings, far more than the Council has ever indicated should be allocated in one corner of Harborough District. Despite this it was disappointing to witness several councillors from other parts of the district propose both SDA sites in Scraptoft and Thurnby be included on the shortlist. I am pleased to say this was rejected.

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