1. ITV Report

Housing development inquiry starts today

The housing development is planned for Shottery, near Stratford-upon-Avon Photo: ITV Central

A planning inspector will begin hearing the arguments for and against a housing development today.

House builder, Bloor Homes, wants to build 800 houses on two housing estates near the village of Shottery at Stratford-upon-Avon. It's the village where William Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway, lived.

Locals have signed a petition against it.

Stratford District Council has turned the planning application down, but Bloor Homes appealed and now it's going to a public inquiry.

But protesters say the majority of people are against the plan.

Martyn Luscombe, from Residents Against Shottery Expansion, says, "Nobody wants this development. The number of house in Stratford over the last 20 odd years has increased by over fifty per cent.

"We've seen a huge amount of development. We haven't got the infrastructure that will sustain that many people, that many cars, and nobody wants yet another huge development in Stratford."

Last week the government said it was relaxing planning laws and from now, there will be a presumption that developments like the one at Shottery will go ahead.

Strategic plans which have already been drawn up by councils will not be subject to this relaxation of planning laws.

The Shottery plan is mentioned in Stratford Council's strategic plan - but this is only a draught.

David Joseph, from Bloor Homes, said, "It's in the council's adopted plan. At the current time, they're consulting on their third version of the core strategy - and it still retains the potential for growth in Stratford, so, it's too early to say whether they do or don't want it.

"In terms of a package, it's a massive package. It brings road infrastructure, a new school, a local centre, affordable housing, and deals with a lot of the issues and congestion in the town.”

The planning inspector will hear the evidence but the final decision will be made by Communities Minister, Eric Pickles. He will have to weigh up the benefits of development over the wishes of local people.

The full report by Mark Gough:

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