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Major new homes plan for Rocester crosses its first hurdle

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: August 22, 2014

Major new homes plan for Rocester crosses its first hurdle

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A CONTROVERSIAL village housing development which is being mooted as a way to serve JCB's future workforce has moved a step closer after planners granted outline planning permission.

Bamford Properties has been given initial permission for the 53-home project on land east of Ashbourne Road in Rocester.

The development would be adjacent to a proposed new school in the village that would see a merger of Dove First School and Ryecroft Middle School.

And there are already plans to build 90 new homes at Churnet Farm and 18 homes at Eyes Farm.

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Addressing an East Staffordshire Borough Council planning committee meeting on Monday, villager David Yorke questioned the need for the development.

He said: "The local plan dictated Rocester needed 115 new houses and we're getting 90 at Churnet Farm.

"Of the other 25, 20 have already been granted planning permission.

"This development is also outside the agreed settlement boundary and is not a project for the benefit of the public – it's a private development."

Mr Yorke added that, while the proposed new school might have parking for staff, it was unlikely that it would include space for parents to park.

"Therefore, the drop-off and pick-up area is likely to be next to the entrance of this site," he said.

"Also, Ashbourne Road is regularly flooded in stormy conditions and the drainage is inadequate, with sewage spilling out of the drains during heavy rain."

JCB representative Grant Anderson said: "This development is not solely about commercial gain. It will benefit the community.

"Much of our investment in expanding the business will be in the Rocester World Headquarters and there's a shortage of local housing to accommodate the 2,500 new jobs we'll be creating.

"This is part of our wider investment strategy and this need for housing was not known when the local plan was announced.

"We're very focused on acquiring the land currently housing Ryecroft School so we can enhance our education and training facilities in the area."

A flood risk assessment carried out by East Staffordshire Borough Council found there would be no increased risk of flooding if the development was built.

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