Saturday afternoon’s for Protesting

No to Pennbury Eco Town LeicestershireWhy 300 people took the trouble to spend part of Saturday morning meeting on a field within the proposed Pennbury “Eco Town” site to say no.

1. Are these houses needed?

Harborough Borough Council have already planned to build the 6,500 homes the government have alloted on brownfield sites. Leicester, like most cities, has already seen extensive conversion of commercial properties into luxury, contemporary apartments, new build developments to the north, current new builds in Kibworth, Scraptoft and expansions to Thorpe Astley and Hamilton have been agreed. Pennbury’s 15,000 houses are extra and no attempt has been made to demonstrate need. So that’s a no.

2. But aren’t Eco-Towns a good thing?

Eco-homes are a good thing. Using brownfield sites is a good thing. Phrases like “carbon neutral” sound good. But developments that aren’t needed and aren’t developed in sympathy with existing facilities and infrastructure are not a good thing. When brownfield sites are available, building on green wedge is not eco-friendly. In Pennbury’s case, this is a no.

3. Won’t Pennbury contribute to existing infrastructure?

Pennbury is being built between two A-roads that already suffer heavy traffic. The Co-operative Group have said Pennbury will have two park and ride sites (not exactly generous given the scale of the housing). Pennbury is supposed to include commercial and business premises so could theoretically be a self-contained development, but that assumes that people moving to Pennbury will also work there. Citing commercial sensitivity, the Co-operative Group are saying nothing further. This nothing further also covers community centres, doctors’ surgeries, dentists, libraries, etc. In the absence of definite information, the answer has to be no.

4. Will Pennbury include schools?

The villages along the A47 corridor (eg Thurnby, Bushby, Houghton on the Hill, Scraptoft, Tilton on the Hill, Billesdon, etc, etc) are in the Oadby schools catchment area. However, Pennbury will be built between the A47 corridor villages and Oadby. If the Oadby schools are oversubscribed, then, as Pennbury children are nearer, they will get priority, so where do the A47 corridor village children go? Whether Pennbury will include schools is subject to commercial sensitivity. So that’s a no too.

To summarise:

Are Pennbury’s houses needed? No.

Isn’t Pennbury “Eco Town” a Good Thing? No.

Won’t Pennbury contribute to existing infrastructure? No.

Will Pennbury include schools? No.

Nimby-ism is a lazy criticism of anyone who objects to housing developments. But objection to Pennbury isn’t nimby-ism (it’s not in my back yard for a start), it’s a sensible reaction to the lack of information, the pressure on existing infrastructure and the negative impact the so-called “Eco Town” will have on local environment. No to Pennbury.

4 Responses to “Saturday afternoon’s for Protesting”

  1. Andy Duke Says:

    Further to the comments above, Leicestershire as a whole has already committed to building 79.000 new houses at a rate of 4,000 per year for the next 20 years. As stated above the 15,000 houses of Pennbury are in addition to the already ratified regional plan – so is there a need? I doubt it.

    Leicester City are also against the plan as the city is currently undergoing a large regeneration project that will bring an estimated 12,000 jobs to the area. The problem is that Pennbury, if it were to go ahead would suck the investment out of the city regeneration, putting it back by 10-20 years.

    Harborough District Council have in the past carried out detailed assessments to see if developments of up to 2,000 houses could be supported in the Pennbury area and every time, the lack of infrastructure, especially transport has meant that the plans were rejected. If 2,000 houses cannot be sustained, 15,000 definately cannot.

    There is a wealth of evidence which points to the fact that Pennbury will not work as an Eco Town or any other type of town because it is in the wrong place. The Govenment have said that the proposals will be subject to local authority planning processes, but as all the councils involved are against the plan, why would the Govenment consider this site? Maybe because they only have to deal with one willing landlord, the Co-op, or is it because they are sure that if the plan is rejected, they can overrule by invoking the new Town Planning act? I hope not, because destroying the countryside, villages (oh yes, it will swallow whole villages) and peoples lives is a poor result just to satisfy the Co-op’s greed.

  2. emmalee1 Says:

    Hence the protests. The Co-operative Group are trying to pass this off as brownfield development because part of it includes the airfield, argue that the 15,000 homes will include up to 5,000 (note that “up to”) affordable homes (affordable to whom? or will they just be sold to a local housing association?), that jobs will be created (in an area of 1% unemployment), and pretend the infrastructure is there (there were rumours they were going to build a link between the A6 and A47 but as the Co-operative Group are keeping everything under wraps we’ve no way of knowing exactly what they’re planning). The alleged “brownfield site” element plus the fact the Co-operative Group already own the land makes Pennbury look attractive to the government.

    However, the government have said they will not give the go-ahead to proposals that are merely re-writes of already rejected proposals, which means Pennbury should get thrown out. But government have delayed their decision to an as yet unspecified date.

    If Pennbury gets the go-ahead it will be subject to local planning processes but how that’s going to work when Harborough District Council and Leicestershire County Council are against Pennbury, I don’t know. The Co-operative Group have said that if they get the go-head, they will hold public consultation. But they have been frustratingly remiss in not getting the public on board so far and their failure to answer key questions about transport, infrastructure, who’s going to live there, what about the wildlife species protected by law already on-site, suggest they haven’t got any answers.

    Watch this space!

  3. Pennbury “Eco Town” an update and the Co-operative Group’s Sixth (I think) Plan « Emma Lee’s Blog Says:

    […] Saturday Afternoon’s for Protesting Explore posts in the same categories: Pennbury “Eco Town” […]

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