Melton Borough Council's planning policy 'unsound'
A council's blueprint for future development has been declared unsound by a planning inspector.
A public inquiry, lasting three weeks, was held into Melton Borough Council's core strategy, which identifies where employment and other developments will go between now and 2026.
The document, agreed by councillors in September, includes plans for 1,000 homes to the north of the town.
However, planning inspector Harold Stephens said: "I believe this core strategy to be an unsound plan and the council's preferred option for the development of 1,000 homes in the north of Melton is not sustainable and therefore not an option I can support.
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"I am surprised the option for growth to the west of the town does not appear to have been considered by the council.
"I recommend the council should withdraw its core strategy, consider a revised one and examine alternatives for housing growth in the south and the west of Melton."
Melton North Action Group (MNAG), which gathered a 2,500-signature petition against the council's plans, welcomed the decision.
It said: "The decision was without doubt a stunning result for MNAG.
"Mr Stephens found the council's core strategy to be unsound in at least 10 areas and not just with regard to the location of the urban extension to the north of the town.
"For over a year, MNAG has asked the council to objectively review its own evidence in relation to matters such as landscape quality, agricultural land quality, traffic modelling, accessibility and biodiversity.
"A significant amount of public money has been wasted and we are left without a workable plan."
Councillor Matthew O'Callaghan said: "This was a hammering for the council.
"I am very pleased for the residents of Melton north now that an unsuitable plan has been rejected soundly."
A council spokeswoman said: "The council considers it needs time to reflect upon the inspector's comments.
"It is hoped informal discussions with the inspector will help inform the way forward."