Plans for homes at Dean Farm approved despite objections from local residents

Date published: 27 January 2015

Councillors sitting on the Licensing and Regulatory committee have approved outline planning permission for the erection of 70 dwellings on land at Dean Farm, despite a number of objections from local residents and Council Leader, Councillor Richard Farnell.

In a vote at a meeting last night (Monday 26 January), which was described as “ridiculous” by residents in attendance, the decision came down to a casting vote by Chairwoman, Councillor Susan Emmott.

Before the final decision was made, Councillor Pat Sullivan suggested that the plans be thrown out based on the grounds that the access road to the site was not good enough. This was seconded by Councillor June West.

Councillors Sullivan and West then withdrew this proposal after legal advice suggested that the decision would likely go to appeal and be overturned at a cost to the council.

A second proposal was then made by Councillor Shakil Ahmed to approve the recommendations in the report. This proposal was lost with a vote of five councillors against and four councillors for. Councillors voting against the proposal then had to come up with a reason as to why they voted against the plans.

Councillor Andy Bell stated that “access to Gilbrook Way was dangerous and traffic on Oldham Road would be bad”. Councillors then had to vote on this, with the vote being drawn five for and five against, after Councillor Emmott cast a vote.

A proposal was then made to simply approve the recommendations presented to councillors. The vote was tied at five councillors for and five councillors against with Councillor Emmott holding the casting vote, therefore approving the plans.

Speaking against the plans before any votes were made, Council Leader, Councillor Richard Farnell, a ward councillor for the area, said: “This area has been overdeveloped and it is time to say enough is enough. This is probably the last green piece of land in that area and we want it to remain that way.”

A representative speaking on behalf of the applicant said: “We would ask that councillors approve the plans as they are for a sustainable location, would add to the boroughs housing supply, there are no technical issues that need addressing and the applicant has agreed to section 106 money for the area. There are no reasons to object the application.”

Local residents from the area also made representation to the council with objections, which included flooding issues, wildlife concerns, traffic issues, pollution and school places.

To try and stop the plans going ahead, councillors explored a number of avenues to prevent the application being approved.

Councillor Pat Sullivan said: “Having one access road to that site is not good enough. This has happened to an estate in Sudden and they have real issues with one road. It is dangerous.”

Councillors explored issues of pollution, infrastructure and school places to also stop the plans from being approved but were told they were not sustainable reasons to not approve the plans.

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