Charnwood 4,500 homes plan approved in 'rushed' decision

Barkby and Thurmaston development area
Image caption The development would see a new town effectively being built on the edge of Leicestershire

Plans for 4,500 new homes on the edge of Leicestershire have been given the go-ahead amid criticism the decision was "rushed".

The £445m development, with schools and shops, on 880 acres (356 hectares), was first proposed in 2008.

A judicial review is being carried out by a government inspector because of the scale of the plans.

Objectors said planning committee members should have waited for the report before making a decision.

The committee chairman was against the move.

The proposal for farmland around Barkby, Barkby Thorpe and Thurmaston, would be the county's largest single housing development.

A decision was postponed by Charnwood Borough Council's planning committee last month after last-minute submissions were made.

Image caption The plans include the building of a new industrial estate and roads

On Thursday, the committee approved the plans by seven votes to five.

Committee chairman, councillor Peter Osborne, said he voted against the plans because he felt "uncomfortable" making a decision before the government report.

'Feel cheated'

"Everybody accepts that housing is going to happen - it just depends on how large and where it goes," he said.

"I think it is difficult for members to make a decision whilst judicial review is on going.

"What the disappointment is that we should've waited and then come to a decision.

"There's nothing lost by just waiting a few months."

The government report is expected to be released in January.

Councillor Patrick Youell, who voted in favour of the plans, said: "If you are going to delay you need a genuine reason for it.

"I don't quite see the point of putting off things because they are unpopular."

Objectors have also raised the issues of extra traffic and loss of agricultural land.

Barkby and Barkby Thorpe Parishes Action Group (BABTAG) chairman, Owen Bentley, said residents were very disappointed.

"People will be particularly disappointed because they've not had due process. They feel they have been cheated.

"This won't be the end of the story."

The homes will be built in phases and are expected to be complete by 2029.

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