Proposals to build up to 550 new homes to north of Melton are unanimously refused by planning committee

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Proposals to build up to 550 new homes at two sites to the north of Melton were given a unanimous thumbs down by Melton Council’s planning committee last night (Thursday, April 2).

Leicestershire County Council sought outline planning consent to build up to 325 homes on seven fields to the eastern side of Nottingham Road. The proposed access was via a roundabout on Nottingham Road.

Richborough Estate had also submitted an outline planning application to build up to 225 new homes on three fields to the west of Scalford Road, the proposed access being a T-junction off Scalford Road.

Melton Council’s regulatory services manager Pat Reid told the committee both developments would be physically linked if they went ahead.

He believed both schemes would deliver some economic and social benefits, such as the creation of new jobs and developer contributions.

But he considered the ‘significant harm caused to transport and highways’ in Melton outweighed these benefits.

Both proposals met strong opposition from groups and local residents including the Melton North Action Group (MNAG), Melton and District Civic Society and the County Highway Authority.

Main objections raised include the proposed developments adding to the town’s existing traffic problems, concerns about road safety and the developments being contrary to the inspector’s decision on the council’s Core Strategy (which was subsequently withdrawn).

In respect of the proposed new homes off Nottingham Road, Sysonby ward councillor Val Manderson said: “I’m very concerned about the profound effect on residents in my ward, the north of Melton and the whole town. The additional traffic generated would bring Nottingham Road and Scalford Road to a near standstill at peak times and add significantly to journey times.”

Committee member John Illingworth, who also represents the ward, said: “Our roads are at capacity, we can’t stand any more. We all know what we need before more homes are built. It’s time we stood up for ourselves.”

Commenting on the proposed new homes off Scalford Road and the extra traffic this scheme would generate, councillors also raised additional highways concerns for the safety of John Ferneley College students and the ‘tremendous amount of pedestrians’ using this road.

Councillor Gerald Botterill said: “We need a bypass in place before these housing applications come forward. That’s what it’s all about.”

The committee unanimously refused both applications on grounds that they ‘would result in an unacceptable material impact to the safe and efficient operation of the highway network’ that ‘the mitigation measures proposed by the applicants failed to address the impacts those measures are likely to have on the wider highway network’ and that ‘the proposed mitigation measures would result in an increase in traffic as well as heavy goods traffic being routed onto inappropriate routes.’