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Developer puts up fight over refusal of 36 eco homes at Easthorpe

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Developers who hope to build 36 eco-friendly homes are fighting a council decision to refuse planning permission for the scheme, writes Julia Breens, Local Democracy reporter.

Gusto Homes (Easthorpe) planned to build the homes – at Easthorpe Lodge near Bottesford – with a wealth of green features to achieve a net-zero carbon standard, but Melton Borough Council’s planning committee voted against it in September last year.

The developer has now made an appeal to the planning inspectorate in a bid to overturn the decision.

Manor Road Easthorpe. Photo: Google (57615104)
Manor Road Easthorpe. Photo: Google (57615104)

The houses would have sat in two areas of land straddling Green Lane, one encompassing Easthorpe Lodge and its grounds, and the other in a paddock. The lodge itself is to be turned into three homes following a separate planning application.

During the committee meeting in September, councillors expressed concerns about a number of issues, including the lack of affordable housing in the plans.

Chair of the planning committee Coun Margaret Glancy said: “I am quite concerned about this particular site. There is a balance to be achieved and this hasn’t achieved it.”

At the time, Joe Taylor, speaking to the committee on behalf of Gusto Group, said in support of the application: “During our application, we engaged and collaborated with your planning department, neighbours and the parish and borough council to evolve a design that reflects local demand, responds to the character of the area and delivers an exemplar net-zero carbon development at a time of significant climate challenges.

"The design and layout have been carefully considered, reflecting feedback from consultees throughout the design process and working with and around existing mature landscape features.”

The application was refused by a unanimous vote, despite council planning officers recommending it be approved, subject to a section 106 agreement covering a number of contributions to local facilities and resources.

The buildings would have included two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom houses, along with a number of over-55 bungalows.

Each home would have been equipped with a host of features designed to ensure the net-zero carbon standard, including triple glazing; increased wall, roof and underfloor insulation; mechanical ventilation; air source heat pumps instead of gas boilers; underfloor heating on the ground floor; heat recovery shower wastes; electric vehicle charging points; water butts; and a variety of A+ rated smart appliances.

The site is close to the remains of a medieval village and moat, which is a scheduled monument.

The appeal will be decided on the basis of written determinations, and interested parties can submit comments to the planning inspectorate until July 18. Visit the planning inspectorate website and search for appeal number APP/Y2430/W/22/3295437.

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