21st Oct, 2017

At least 3,000 more homes than originally forecast could be built in district

Stratford Editorial 17th Jul, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

AT LEAST 3,000 more homes than originally forecast are likely to be built in the district.

And plans for a virtually new town at Long Marston Airfield – previously rejected by Stratford District Council – will have to be reconsidered.

The latest proposals form part of the authority’s response to planning inspector Peter Drew’s findings that its Core Strategy – the key planning document, which will help shape development in the district until 2031 – was not sound.

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 advising 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 was “tight” and would almost certainly need to increase.

And having spent the last three months evaluating Mr Drew’s findings, the council has now released its own report in which a revised target of 14,480 homes – an increase of around 3,000 – is being proposed.

But with Mr Drew maintaining the housing target should include some ‘headroom’ to allow for the possibility not all housing sites will come forward as anticipated, the final total could actually 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 put forward.

Both GLH and Long Marston emerged as frontrunners before councillors eventually judged GLH to be the most viable and sustainable.

But during the public examination, campaign group FORSE argued the GLH 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 pending further assessment in his interim report and the council are still keen to push on with the plans.

But the government inspector did draw attention to “a major flaw” in the assessment of the Long Marston site.

And with the housing numbers expected to increase, district council officers have concluded the Long Marston scheme, which it is envisaged could provide some 3,000 homes, should be looked at again.

The site at Long Marston would be in addition to the inclusion of the GLH scheme within the council’s current plan.

The report is set to be discussed by councillors at a meeting of the authority’s full council on Monday (July 20).

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