Homes plan faces scrutiny
A move to allow a development of 1,800 homes to be built is to be challenged.
Last week, the Conservative-controlled executive of Harborough District Council agreed to recommend a planning masterplan which would see the houses built on the Airfield Farm site and adjoining fields.
It will go to full council for approval in the next few months.
However, the Liberal Democrat opposition group has referred the proposals to the council's scrutiny committee for examination.
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The Lib Dems have also set up an e-petition calling on residents to register their objections to the permission for so many homes.
The plan was chosen from a number of options which proposed at least 1,000 homes, alongside a school, shops, community facilities and business premises.
Liberal Democrat group leader Phil Knowles said the challenge to the executive's recommendation was to allow more councillors the chance to debate the issue.
He said that as it stood, the 1,800-home plan would go to council to be voted on and it could not be changed or altered.
He said: "It would be a straight vote to accept or reject the masterplan."
The move to refer the proposal to scrutiny was backed by six Liberal Democrat councillors representing Market Harborough seats and two from the north of the district.
Mr Knowles said the proposed masterplan would have a significant impact on "all or many of the communities we serve and has not been subject to significant public consultation".
He said he was also urging people to sign a petition calling on the council to drop the 1,800-home option.
Residents living on the western edge of Market Harborough have also campaigned against the 1,800-home option, which includes an access on to Lubenham Hill which could be used as a bypass, linking to Leicester Road north of Market Harborough.
Residents' representative Nikki Keep said people living in Lubenham Hill were in favour of an option which would have restricted the number of homes to 1,100.
But council planning, environment and conservation spokeswoman Janette Ackerley defended the executive's decision.
She said the recommendation would provide the majority of the future housing need of Market Harborough without looking for further sites.
She said: "The development of the larger area will provide the infrastructure needed for the residents and bring wider benefits to the town.
"It takes advantage of the natural amenity of the canal to provide public open space and a further open space to preserve the separation between Market Harborough and Lubenham.
"The whole area can be developed to produce something that Market Harborough can be proud of rather than small pockets of development that do not relate to each other."
People who want to sign the petition can visit: