Controversial plans for up to 200 new homes which will help fund Melton’s planned partial bypass will be recommended for approval when they go before councillors on Thursday.
Taylor Wimpey has applied to the borough council to create the development in a field off Melton Spinney Road at Thorpe Arnold, close to Twinlakes Theme Park.
The applicants would be prepared to pay £1,730,600 towards strategic transport improvements in the area, including the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR), which will rely on developer contributions to top up funding from the government and local authorities.
They propose building 10 per cent of the new properties as affordable homes on the site, which is currently agricultural land bounded by Melton Country Park to the west and residential housing on Carnegie Crescent and Hunt Drove to the south.
The council has received 72 letters of objection from 61 residents and Scalford Parish Council has written to ‘strenuously object’ about the proposed development on the grounds that the extra traffic generated would pass through the village and damage quality of life and infrastructure there.
But members of the planning committee will be recommended by officials to approve the plans with a report stating that it meets a demand for new affordable housing and would be sited in a sustainable location with access to services in the nearby town.
It states: “There are also benefits arising from the proposed highways improvements and, significantly, the substantial contribution towards the MMDR and progress towards this key infrastructure.
“There is a strong prospect – though not a guarantee – that the MMDR could be in place prior to the development being completed.”
The council says there are concerns about the impact of the scheme on the adjacent country park and officers say there should be an insistence on a buffer zone, including substantial planting, on the east boundary of the site and a pedestrian pathway from the scheme into the park, subject to the landowner’s agreement.
Any granting of planning permission, officials say, should also include contributions to local services, with £750,000 for bus services, almost £600,000 towards secondary schools and more than £67,000 for police, as well as the money for roads.
The proximity of Twinlakes is considered in the report which the planning committee will discuss but it felt that the movement of vehicles to and from the theme park would not conflict greatly with traffic accessing the new development.
Scalford Parish Council disagrees in its comments on the plans, stating: “We know from experience with the Twin Lakes traffic that whilst it is supposed to go down Melton Spinney Road onto the Thorpe Road a lot of it doesn’t because the road is gridlocked.
“Therefore the only other way it can go is up through Scalford and out that way which gives access to Leicester and Nottingham.
“If your proposal went ahead this would without doubt create a considerable amount of additional traffic movements through Scalford village as residents would go this way to avoid going through the town.
“Scalford is a small rural conservation village that is not built to take modern day traffic volumes, and your proposal would just create a rat run through the village.”
Letters of objection flag up a number of wide ranging concerns about the plans, including the site being too detached from the town and unsustainable, not enough bungalows being proposed, there being flooding risks and increased pressure on an already busy road network and the scheme placing unneccesary strain on the town’s infrastructure.