Victory for town over 100 homes proposal

Beleagured residents in '¨Stotfold have seen off plans for a housing development on the edge of the town.

Up to 500 people signed a petition against plans by Taylor Wimpey to build up to 100 homes on land at the rear of Silver Birch Avenue on the edge of the town.

A further 66 letters of objection were received by Central Beds Council and Stotfold Town Council also registered its objection.

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At its development control meeting on Wednesday, councillors were told the town was already at capacity.

Town council leader Alan Cooper said youngsters were having to be sent by taxi to schools outside the town because the local ones were full and that the GP surgery at Larksfield could not cope with the amount of patients.

Cllr Cooper said his wife had had to wait two weeks for an appointment at the surgery after injuring her leg at work.

He also said the town had no bank and only one ATM after one was stolen at the end of last year.

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“We are a dormitory town and most houses have two cars,” he said. “There are long queues in and out of town.

“This is an opportunistic application.”

Despite Central Beds Council’s own planners saying the scheme was contrary to policy and would have an impact on the character and appearance of the area they had recommended it for approval.

But residents and the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) said the plans, on land listed as grade II agriculture, was on a greenfield site and outside the settlement ‘envelope’ of the town, meaning people were more likely use cars to travel to town.

They also stated there was not enough infrastrucure, the site was on a flood zone, there would be a loss of farmland and a threat to local wildlifeand that there were already enough developments in Stotfold.

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Benjamin Coles for Taylor Wimpey said the scheme had evolved following consultaitons with residents and that grade II land would need to be built on eventually for the council to reach its required hosuing commitments.

But Cllr Brian Saunders said Stotfold had almost doubled in size in the past four years and the plan was inappropriate.

“I feel another 100 dwellings is just too much for the town to take,” he said”It’s time to call a halt to developments of this size in the town and the surrounding countryside.”

Councillors rejected the plans on the grounds that it would be a loss of agricultural land, an adverse effect on the landscape and an encroachment into the countryside.

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