AT LEAST 3,000 more homes than originally planned will need to be built in the district, The Observer can reveal.
And proposals for a virtually new town at Long Marston Airfield – previously rejected by Stratford District Council – will have to be reconsidered.
That was the authority’s response to planning inspector Pete Drew’s findings of its Core Strategy – the key planning document, which will help shape development in the district until 2031.
The council is currently in the process of trying to adopt the strategy and a month-long public examination was conducted by Mr Drew at the beginning of the year.
In March, he released an interim report in which he advised more work needed to be done before the document could be rubber-stamped.
He suggested the authority’s target of building 11,300 homes in the district over the next 16 years was “tight” and would almost certainly need to increase.
Having spent the last three months evaluating Mr Drew’s findings and carrying out further assessment, the council has now released its own report by way of a response.
A revised target of 14,480 homes – an increase of just over 3,000 – has been proposed in the report, which was released on Friday (July 10).
But with Mr Drew advising the housing target should include some ‘headroom’ to allow for the possibility not all sites will come forward as anticipated, the final total could be somewhere between 15,200 and 15,500 homes.
Central to the council’s strategy was being able to build a large settlement of approximately 3,000 homes somewhere in the district.
Four potential sites – on brownfield land at Long Marston Airfield, land joining Long Itchington with Southam, land near Gaydon and Lighthorne Heath (GLH) and in south east Stratford – were originally put forward.
Both GLH and Long Marston emerged as frontrunners before councillors eventually judged GLH to be the most viable and sustainable proposal.
During the public examination, campaign group FORSE argued the scheme was not practical due to noise pollution, increased traffic, visual impact on nearby Chesterton Windmill and a lack of secondary school place provision.
Mr Drew reserved judgement on the proposal in his interim report and the council’s own report has indicated it is still keen to push on with the GLH plans.
But with its newly increased housing target, a number of other sites have since been assessed and district council officers have concluded the Long Marston scheme, which it is envisaged could provide some 3,500 homes (2,100 during the plan period), should be looked at again.
The site at Long Marston would be in addition to the inclusion of the GLH scheme.
The report and its contents are set to be discussed by councillors at a meeting of the authority’s full council on Monday, July 20.
If councillors agree to the proposed modifications, it is understood the necessary documents will be finalised ahead of a further consultation period around mid-August.