Emotional pleas to save Upper Gravenhurst from over development fails to win over councillors

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A plan for 52 dwellings and small retail unit in Upper Gravenhurst have been approved despite strong opposition from residents and the parish council. The outline plans, for Orchard Close, Upper Gravenhurst, will change the character of the village, residents feel.

A previous similar application had been rejected by Central Bedfordshire Council and then refused by the planning inspectorate because of a lack of affordable housing in the plan.

There are currently 191 houses in Gravenhurst and councillors fear it will change the whole look of the area.

In its submission, the parish council said: “This new application was discussed at length and in depth at a public meeting in which a large number of parishioners attended to voice their concerns. The attendees showed a palpable anger and frustration, with the general consensus being that they had been considerably let down by the Planning Inspectorate in relation to the appeal leading to this resubmission.

“Having read the Planning Inspectors report, GPC believe the decision was limited in its scope and understanding and lacking in any real local detail. It showed a disregard for the needs and wishes of the local community and diminished the importance of local involvement in local decision making.”

Gravenhurst parish councillor Richard Brewer said the scheme would cause harm to the character of the area at Wednesday’s Development Management Committee.

And ward councillor Alison Graham made an impassioned plea about: “the disastrous impact of this application on this small but proud hill village.”

“This open rural view, once gone is gone forever,” she said.

Councillors voted to approve the scheme.