Go-ahead given for 1,000 homes
A council has approved plans to build 1,000 homes and two travellers' sites on the edge of a town.
Melton Borough Council agreed the plans at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday, despite a 2,400-signature petition in objection.
They are part of the council's core strategy for long-term housing and employment growth in the borough up to 2026 and will now be examined at a public hearing in January.
Objectors fear the plans would create unacceptable levels of traffic and destroy wildlife habitats.
Councillor Matthew O' Callaghan, leader of the council's Labour group, told the meeting: "Rural councillors have voted to dump 80 per cent of future houses in the town, and in Melton North in particular.
"I will fight this all the way. We were told we had to approve the core strategy now otherwise we would be swamped with applications for housing on unsuitable land which we could not stop.
"This is not true. Charnwood Borough Council recently rejected applications for two developments despite not having its core strategy approved."
The core strategy identifies the areas for the homes. Once approved, developers then apply for planning permission.
John Beech, chairman of Melton North Action Group (MNAG), set up to fight the plans, said: "The residents of Melton must recognise this decision is not the end of the process, it is the beginning.
"The end point will be determined by the Planning Inspectorate, which will decide whether the core strategy focuses on the critical issues."
In a consultation this year, the council received more than 500 representations. Almost half opposed an extension to Melton.
A council spokeswoman said: "After due consideration, the council felt there was no reason to question the legality of the process or the soundness of the strategy.
"It resolved to submit it to the Government for examination by an independent inspector."
Council leader Byron Rhodes said: "The location of housing development to the north of Melton is controversial but now it is up to the Government's inspector to give the final go ahead.
"Objectors will have every opportunity to present their case."