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.
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.