Anger over plans for 1,800 homes
Almost 2,000 homes are likely to be built on the outskirts of Market Harborough despite a protest by more than 100 residents.
The campaign group took along banners to protest ahead of a Harborough District Council scrutiny committee meeting in the town where the issue was being discussed.
Eight members of the public spoke at the meeting, urging councillors to make a recommendation to council leaders not to make Airfield Farm a designated site for 1,800 new homes.
They wanted the council to opt for allowing 1,000 homes on the site. However, the scrutiny committee voted against their wishes.
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Now the plan for 1,800 homes, plus shops, a school, hotel and marina at Airfield Farm, along with a link road onto Lubenham Hill, will be voted on by the Conservative controlled council in December.
Lesley Paris, 58, who lives in Lubenham Hill, said: "There had been about 1,000 houses they wanted to build in the area but then that increased overnight to 1,800.
"That would increase the size of Market Harborough by 25 per cent.
"Our aim was to get the decision reversed but the councillors seem to think they need to build the houses somewhere.
"People in Lubenham and Great Bowden are the most angry about this."
Liberal Democrat Group leader Phil Knowles said: "This is the day the public were ignored and localism died in Harborough. Not only were there more than 100 protesters at the meeting, 300 people signed an on-line petition against the proposal.
"They have all been ignored. The impact on Market Harborough and the surrounding villages will be deeply worrying for the community as the infrastructure is subjected to added pressures."
He said he felt sorry for those who would move onto the new development of 1,800 homes.
He said: "Does that mean they will be subjected to living on a building site for 20 years? I am sure it will encourage other developers to build on adjacent green field sites. Only time will tell on all of this and the public will be watching."
Council leader Mike Rook said the Airfield Farm scheme should be put into the wider context that it would remove the pressure to build elsewhere.
Council environment and planning spokesperson Janette Ackerley said the adopted plan for the area put 1,000 as a minimum figure.
She said: "The need to provide a link road was also an important consideration, which would likely only happen through the wider development of the area."
She said the council would be working closely with the community and developers in the preparation of a master plan for the area which would aim to be in harmony with the local environment.