Council refuses 100 homes over neighbourhood plan conflict fears

An application for 100 homes in an East Staffordshire village has been refused by the local council over fears that, if approved, the local community would abandon the area's neighbourhood plan, which is due to go to a referendum.

Rolleston on Dove (pic courtesy lochaberphoto via flickr)
Rolleston on Dove (pic courtesy lochaberphoto via flickr)


Planners at East Staffordshire Borough Council had recommended approval of the outline application, which was submitted by Burton and South Derbyshire College. It proposed up to 100 homes on a greenfield site at Rolleston that was formerly the college’s sports field.

The council has an adopted local plan, which has been in place since 2006. The local community has developed the Rolleston on Dove neighbourhood plan, which was judged by an examiner to be in conformity with the local plan and is waiting for a date to be set for a referendum.

However, East Staffordshire Borough Council is now developing a new local plan, which is currently under consultation.

The neighbourhood plan is not in conformity with the housing strategy in the new local plan, according to the officers’ report on the proposed housing strategy.

The report states: "The Rolleston neighbourhood development plan is not in conformity with the strategic housing allocation of 100 dwellings on the college field’s site in the pre-submission local plan.

"It also undermines the settlement hierarchy that the council has developed – which essentially undermines not just the approach in Rolleston but across the plan as a whole."

But at the planning committee meeting, opponents of the housing development said that approval of the application would so undermine the neighbourhood plan that the community would abandon it.

The local community rejected the site when drawing up its neighbourhood plan and instead proposed alternative sites throughout the village for 85 new homes.

Barry Edwards, chair of the Rolleston on Dove neighbourhood plan steering group, said: "If the plan could not have any input in how the community developed, it would be irrelevant."

The planning committee refused the application on the grounds of prematurity and the effect it would have on the neighbourhood plan.

Latest planning guidance on prematurity states that arguments that an application is premature are "unlikely to justify a refusal of planning permission other than in exceptional circumstances".

Sarah Drew, assistant principal at the college said that the college was disappointed by the decision and plans to appeal.

Meanwhile, a neighbourhood plan for Lynton and Lynmouth in the Exmoor national park was last week approved by a local referendum, with 187 votes in favour and 45 against. It is the fifth neighbourhood plan to be approved at referendum, after Thame, Oxfordshire; St James, Exeter; Upper Eden, Cumbria and Tattenhall, Cheshire.


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