Campaigners say they are “vindicated” after a planning inspector upheld their objections to a 48-home estate on greenfield land.
Kier Living’s appeal against the rejection of its plans to build on land off Kettering Road in Stamford was dismissed on Thursday last week.
Planning inspector Anne Napier-Derere said the proposed estate featured “inappropriate layout and insensitive design” and would have a “significant adverse impact” on the approach to Stamford and neighbouring heritage sites such as the Burghley House Bottle Lodges.
Campaign group Stamford! Protect Our Green Space has fought against the plans since they first emerged in 2013.
Founder of the campaign group David Taylor, recently elected to Stamford Town Council, said: “I am delighted that the planning inspector has dismissed this appeal so uncompromisingly.
“Her findings vindicate all that we have always argued about the total unsuitability of this site for development. Huge thanks to the many people who have supported our campaign and to our dedicated campaign team for their unstinting hard work. As a result, a beautiful and ancient area of green space and an iconic view of Stamford have been preserved.”
Campaigners collected hundreds of signatures on a petition against the plans. They thought their efforts had paid off when South Kesteven District Council’s development control committee rejected Kier’s application in May last year. But they continued their fight once the developer appealed that decision.
Kier has since put in a new application for 39 homes on the same site.
Current campaign group chairman Ian Campbell said: “We are very pleased that the inspector clearly took on board the points we made regarding the inappropriateness of a ‘modern form of suburban housing’ in such an important and iconic setting.
“We believe that the strength of the inspector’s rejection ought to protect this site from any further attempts to build there. We shall be making this point vigorously to the district council in the coming weeks.”
The council’s original decision was based on the impact of the homes on the character and setting of Stamford, the adjacent Conservation Area and nearby heritage assets. The inspector echoed these concerns in her report.
She said the site was an important part of the view of Stamford from First Drift in Wothorpe. The inspector also pointed to the design of the estate facing Kettering Road, calling it “car-dominated.” She said it would be “materially at odds with the character of much of the existing townscape in the vicinity of the appeal site.”
The plans were also criticised for not blending into the countryside in views from London Road. The inspector said: “The proposal would figure prominently in views from this direction and, as a result of its inappropriate layout and insensitive design, it would have a significant adverse impact on the approach to the town and on the setting of nearby heritage assets.”
The land has been allocated for housing by the district council. But the inspector pointed to a condition of the site allocations and policies development plan document that requires development on the site to “preserve and enhance the setting of Stamford”.
A Kier spokesman said: “We are disappointed that this appeal has been dismissed. We are taking advice in respect of this matter.”