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Controversial homes plan set to be approved

News (3289519)
News (3289519)

A disused allotment site in Oakham town centre could host a new development of up to 40 homes.

Tenants were forced out of their allotments on Brooke Road two years ago and the owner Burley Estate Farm Partnership now wants to use the land for housing, including affordable homes and open space.

The idea has been met with strong criticism from Oakham Town Council and the campaign group Oakham South West Action Group, along with 28 residents who contacted Rutland County Council to oppose the scheme.

One of the biggest concerns is that access to the site would be via Brooke Road - an area which already suffers from queuing traffic as a result of parked cars and and level crossing.

In its report to the council, the action group said: "The Brooke Road crossing is already rated as high risk by Network Rail and this proposal would increase that risk rating. Putting a site with access off that part of Brooke Road means there is a serious accident waiting to happen."

Despite the concerns, the council's highways department has no objections to the scheme as it includes a plan to widen Brooke Road, creating enough space for a parking bay for current residents and two-way traffic to flow.

The council's planning officers have recommended the overall plan for approval at a meeting next week.

The report says: "The development will provide sustainable residential development within Oakham. The suggested planning conditions will ensure biodiversity is enhanced along the river corridor, sustainable drainage is provided and replacement tree planting is provided.

"The loss of the land as important open space and allotments would be difficult to resist in the circumstances that prevail on this particular site when balanced with the need for housing in sustainable locations.

"This should not be seen as setting a precedent for other protected open spaces as the circumstances are unlikely to be the same."

But campaigners hope the council will isten to their concerns.

The action group said: "OSWAG strongly urges RCC to stick to its guns and create a recreational important green space for the citizens of Oakham and not to give into a powerful landowner who is only going to profit personally. Instead, the community and environment could benefit from a green space."

"It is very sad that those people who cherished that land and created wonderful allotments were not allowed to stay. They should be offered the land back and be allowed to determine its best use."

A decision will be made by the planning committee at Catmose on Tuesday.

The application proposes alterations to land within the highway to facilitate a parking bay on Brooke Road for residents opposite whilst maintaining a highway width of 6 metres which will allow for 2-way traffic to flow. This is an improvement on the current situation where traffic has to queue behind parked vehicles

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