A BUILDING firm has won its appeal to build 96 homes on the outskirts of Oakham.
Jeakins Weir will be allowed to develop land in Uppingham Road because Rutland County Council does not have enough new homes planned to meet targets for the next five years.
The council was due to refuse the application to build houses in Uppingham Road, Oakham, in February as the land was in open countryside. But the developer appealed because the council took too long to make a decision.
On Wednesday Government planning inspector Mary O’Rourke ruled the site was needed to meet housing requirements and granted outline planning permission.
More than 40 Oakham residents packed the public inquiry at the EEF Training Centre in Barleythorpe in May to oppose the proposal for the land, which is outside the town’s development limits.
The council argued the site was not needed to fulfil the housing requirements in Oakham because it had approved Hawksmead’s plans to build 1,100 homes to the north of the town.
But Jeakins Weir said development would not meet the requirements of the core strategy, set by the council, which requires a minimum of 1,100 homes be built by 2026.
The developer argued there would be a shortfall and its site would be needed.
Corry Cavell-Taylor, of Uppingham Road, is part of Oakham Action, a group set up to campaign against the development.
He said: “I am stunned and appalled. I am amazed that such a terrible decision has been made on behalf of Rutland.
“It will blight the one untouched historic approach into Oakham. It is incomprehensible to build there. This is a knee-jerk reaction to the shortfall and the wrong decision.
“It is another nail in the coffin Continued: Page 3
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of Oakham as a viable attractive town.
“People won’t come here and we will lose out. It’s a great shame.”
In her report, Mrs O’Rourke said the homes would not have a significant visual impact and were needed to make up the shortfall caused by the council’s failure to deliver enough housing land in Oakham.
The report said: “(Rutland County Council) had to accept at the inquiry that it did not have a five-year supply of deliverable housing land.
“The appeal proposal would provide additional high quality housing with a mix of both market and affordable homes, on a suitable site and in a sustainable location.
“It would offer an improved choice of new housing and greater flexibility in the local housing market.
“The appeal scheme would use the land effectively and efficiently, achieving high quality housing and a good mix of market and affordable homes.
“Whilst it might look rather raw in the early years, the establishment of major structural planting around and within the development would ensure its impact on the landscape would be acceptable.”
Deputy leader of Rutland County Council Terry King admitted the decision was a blow.
He said: “This is obviously extremely disappointing for the council, as we always strive to protect open countryside in our rural area.
“The development has not been popular with residents and we were working to identify a more suitable site as part of the local development framework for the area.
“However, we will now work with the developers to help progress the application.”
Managing director of Jeakins Weir, Alistair Weir, said: “We are of course very pleased with this decision.”