Plea for Pickles to intervene in Daventry planning row

Mickle Well Park campaigners
Mickle Well Park campaigners

Campaigners fighting the newly-approved 450-home estate at Mickle Well Park have urged the Secretary of State to bring the plans in for review.

In a letter sent to Eric Pickles, members of the Mickle Well Park Opposition Group condemned the proposed development on the northern edge of Daventry as an “isolated, incongruous incursion into the open countryside”.

The letter, which was also signed by Chris Barlow, chairman of Welton Parish Council, and Chris Humphreys of the Lang Farm Residents Association, raised several concerns about the cohesiveness of the decision made by Daventry District Council’s (DDC) planning committee to approve the application last month.

Chief among these is the campaigners’ belief committee members were misled on whether DDC was meeting its requirement for five years of deliverable housing. A report published by I.G Estates on behalf of the opposition group in December made the case for the existence of the five-year housing supply.

The letter goes on: “The facts are that some 21 days after the committee’s decision the LPA [Local Planning Authority – DDC] published its housing land supply statement and confirmed a supply of some 5.94 years, hardly the shortage portrayed.”

Campaigners are also opposed to the development as many residents believed that by backing the ‘sustainable urban extension’ to Daventry along the B4036 Long Buckby Road should have afforded a degree of protection from additional homes.

The letter states: “The LPA advised residents that the SUE would safeguard against speculative housing applications. As you can imagine therefore, they feel let down by the system and the Government’s commitment to ‘localism’.”

Additional concerns include damage to the existing conservation areas and the possible impact of flooding.

Chairman of DDC’s planning committee, Steve Osborne, said it was his personal view was that the housing land supply issue was not an overriding factor in the committee’s decision.

He said: “I was told on the next planning committee meeting three weeks after we had a five-year land supply.

“Personally I didn’t think it was one of the major factors.”

He said other issues taken into consideration were the potential benefits to the town.

Miranda Joseph, vice chairman of Mickle Well Park opposition group, alleged the planning process had not been fully “transparent” and called for a full investigation into the workings and motives of DDC’s planning process.