A wave of housing hits rural paradise

The impact of large scale urban expansions on rural villages is being felt deeply across many pockets of rural England. These waves of development proposals form part of growth hubs laid down by the government to satisfy housing demand and create regional employment opportunities – but they are being met with fierce opposition.

One such scheme causing a stir is the outline planning application for land adjacent to the village of Lighthorne Heath, near Gaydon, Warwickshire.

The first phase of 2,000 new homes includes a village centre with supermarket, a new primary school, community hub, health centre, sports and recreation facilities, as well as a 47 hectare managed ecological reserve. Eventually, it will comprise up to 5,000 dwellings and will be the second largest settlement in the district after Stratford upon Avon.

Situated in the M40 corridor and dovetailing with land for the expansion of Jaguar Land Rover, the ambition is to create a local, skilled community employed within the high value automotive related research market.

All fine until you consider the existing residents. The plans have drawn fierce opposition from local village communities concerned that the quintessentially English rural character of the landscape will be lost forever. An action group, FORSE (Friends of a Rural and Sustainable Environment) has been established by local residents concerned that the development is neither appropriate nor sustainable and would have an extremely negative impact on life in the local area.

Picturesque village of Kineton now under threat

This development will impact the whole of south Warwickshire, in particular residents of nearby villages such as Kineton, Bishop’s Itchington, Bishop’s Tachbrook and Wellesbourne. All fear being absorbed into a new Milton Keynes-style urbanisation.

They have taken legal advice on whether the council has gathered the evidence legally required for the scheme, stating that the impact of this large town on traffic and the wider environment hasn’t been properly researched.

Landowners and developers are looking to unlock sites considered as unproductive land and promote them to councils under the cosh on development targets. Rural villages could be in the firing line near your client. Some schemes take years to come to fruition, meaning years of limbo – how will you advise your client?

The DevAssess report (available from STL) identifies development risk and opportunity by professionally interpreting the changing face of land use zoning, together with the pattern of planning approvals in and around a client’s chosen property. This information is not obvious from traditional planning searches.

DevAssess was initially developed in conjunction with STL in response to a clear need for better interpretation of planning data for homebuyers. With a DevAssess report you are able to offer better advice on the planning context ahead of exchange, reducing liabilities for both your client and your firm.

Next steps

For more information on DevAssess or any of the other interpreted planning and development risk reports from DevAssist, call us on 0800 318611 or email [email protected].

This article was submitted to be published by STL Group Ltd as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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