Garden Village safety concerns prompt developer pledge

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CALA Homes is the developer involved in plan to build thousands of homes on the former RAF Long Marston Airfield.

Serious safety concerns have been raised over plans to build 3,100 homes at Long Marston Airfield by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)- but the developer says it is already on the case.

The HSE’s worries revolve around two high pressure gas pipelines which run through the site, close to where buildings, such as a school, have been initially proposed in the application’s illustrative masterplan.

The application at this stage is for outline permission and the developer would still have to come back with a reserved matters application ironing out the finer design details at a later stage, should outline permission be granted.

A statement on the application from HSE reads: “HSE’s assessment indicates that the risk of harm to people at the proposed development is such that HSE’s advice is that there are sufficient reasons, on safety grounds, for advising against the granting of planning permission in this case.”

It adds: “The possibility remains that a major accident could occur at an installation and that this could have serious consequences for people in the vicinity. Although the likelihood of a major incident occurring is small, it is felt prudent for planning purposes to consider the risks to people in the vicinity of the hazardous installation.”

However the HSE goes on to say that it would not object to outline permission being granted, if the developer would agree to a scheme diverting the pipeline with National Grid, before submitting any later reserved matters application.

last week developer CALA Homes confirmed that such plans were already in the pipeline.

A CALA spokesperson said: “We have been involved in discussions with the appropriate authorities and have proposed to divert and reinforce the gas mains which currently runs through the site, in accordance with the pre-application advice.”

A decision on the outline application is not expected to be made until September.