HUGELY controversial plans to build up to 800 homes on land next to Shottery on the edge of Stratford-upon-Avon WILL go ahead.
This is the bombshell decision announced today by Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles.
The most sensitive aspect of the scheme is that it will be directly adjacent to one of the most famous historic buildings in the world—Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the house where William Shakespeare’s wife was brought up.
One of the most highly-charged reasons for giving the scheme the go-ahead—from Stratford-on-Avon District Council’s point of view—is that although the council’s emerging local development plan does not envisage the site for development, it is at such an early stage of formation, and subject to change, that it has carried little weight.
This will trigger an almighty political row because the opposition Liberal Democrats on the council have been repeatedly critical of the ruling Conservatives for taking so long to complete the district’s core planning strategy.
Today the government made it clear that Mr Pickles was in agreement with the inspector who conducted the planning appeal inquiry in Stratford in spring this year that the appeal—by developers Bloor Homes and Hallam Land Management—should go ahead.
In a letter to the inteested parties, the Department flor Communities and Local Government (DCLG) says that Mr Pickles accepts that there are disadvantages to the scheme, such as the impact on the landscape.
But the minister considers these are outweighed by factors in its favour, such as helping to meet a significant housing need in a sustainable location, new green field infrastructure and local facilities, and “some modest transport benefits” from a new road that is planned.
The existence of the Shottery land as a possible site for a huge housing scheme has been the subject of furious opposition for several years. Today’s decision is expected to be met by uproar.
For a full report and reaction see next week’s papers.
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