Homes decision met with dismay
Campaigners say they are dismayed a planning inspector has overruled a decision to reject a housing scheme.
Charles Church has been told it can build 50 homes off Bramcote Road, Loughborough.
The scheme was refused by Charnwood Borough Council after Loughborough South West Action Group (Swag) argued it would swallow up picturesque land that acted as a buffer between the town and the ancient Charnwood Forest.
However, planning inspector David Morgan, who heard the appeal at a public inquiry, has now overturned the council's decision.
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Swag chairman Patrick Keogh said: "It's very dispiriting. We ran a campaign representing the views of many local people.
"We persuaded the council to reject it and then it is allowed at the stroke of an inspector's pen.
"It seems the voice of the community carries no weight in these matters and the system is loaded towards the developers.
"Everything our politicians tell us about localism and putting decision making in the hands of local authorities is just hot air."
Mr Keogh said he feared there would be an avalanche of further housing applications.
He said: "Developers have been waiting to see which way this decision will go and they have the answer they want."
Mr Keogh said the group would fight further applications if residents wished it.
He said: "Having gone through a public inquiry, we will be better prepared."
Mr Morgan said: "Although this proposal would cause harm to the character of the countryside, this harm would not significantly or demonstrably outweigh the clear benefits, specifically the provision of new homes, affordable homes, improvements to countryside access and local improvements to landscape."
Landscape architect and Bramcote Road resident Andy Roberts said he feared the scheme would lead to flooding, despite compensation ponds proposed by the developer.
Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan said: "I am disappointed because it is a lovely area.
"The campaigners ran a very good campaign and I do feel dispirited when I talk to people about localism and then there are decisions like this."