Reduced West Row housing development still a ‘10 per cent increase’ in village size

Mark Westley Photography'WEST ROW: Village protest over development 'The West Row Action Group spells out 'NO' in people, showing their disapproval of plans for a housing development in the village. ANL-150103-225920009
Mark Westley Photography'WEST ROW: Village protest over development 'The West Row Action Group spells out 'NO' in people, showing their disapproval of plans for a housing development in the village. ANL-150103-225920009
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Developers have halved the size of a controversial housing proposal in West Row, despite a report revealing the site had only been earmarked for a third of the original amount.

Following a meeting with residents about the plans for 138 houses off Beeches Road, developer Pigeon announced it will downsize its proposal dramatically to include 70 to 80 houses.

However, a planning policy response to the application has stated the site was only earmarked for 46 houses in the local five year land supply.

John Smith, of the West Row Action Group, said the new development will still equate to a 10 per cent increase in the size of the village.

He acknowledged the decision was ‘significant’, but said the group’s fight was not yet resolved.

“The attitude of the group is that we set it up to fight over-development, and a 10 per cent growth of the village is over-development,” he said.

“We know the village has to grow, but this is an urban proposal. We don’t have the roads and or the sewage systems.

“I think a lot of people are reserving an opinion until we see the revised planning application.”

Planning policy comments for the application, published on Monday, referenced a previous development plan for the district which identified a smaller site in the same location as ‘available, suitable, achievable and viable’.

It said in light of this decision, ‘some development on the land must be considered acceptable in principle’.

It considered 138 homes was ‘not particularly substantial’ in comparison to the 175 dwellings planned for West Row, a ‘primary village’ in the local development plan.

However, it added this level of development would be ‘subject to infrastructure improvements’, identifying deficiencies in transport, sewage and substation capacity.

Simon Butler-Finbow, of Pigeon, said: “Comments were raised about the scheme which led us to amend it.

“The revised scheme discussed showed between 70 and 80 units, which is a significant reduction from 138.”

Cllr James Waters, district council leader and ward member for Eriswell and the Rows, said: “This decision is a good thing, it’s what I’ve been fighting for and trying to influence.

“What they need to think about now is what they will need from that development.”