September 23, 2023


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Councillors order a rethink over 700-home estate after branding design ‘unacceptable’

Detailed plans for up to 700 homes have been sent back for a redesign after councillors raised concerns.

The massive new housing development is earmarked for land north of the Marston Grange estate at Beaconside, in Stafford, which has been constructed in recent years.

Outline permission has already been granted and, earlier this year, Maximus Strategic Stafford LLP was given permission for a nearby development of 2,000 new homes, as well as two schools and two local centres to provide shops and restaurants.

Developers Barratt West Midlands and Bovis Homes put forward the detailed application for the layout, scale, appearance and landscaping of the 700-home estate.

The proposals were recommended for approval by Stafford Borough Council officers ahead of a planning committee meeting. But members instead voted to defer their decision and send the proposals back for reconsideration.

Committee member Marnie Phillips said: “I’m pleased to see bungalows are being built – that’s a real bonus. It’s just a shame they’re too small for anybody with a wheelchair to actually use them, which seems short-sighted on the developer’s part.

“I’m not happy about the designs of some of these streets. We’re seeing what I describe as ‘car park frontages’ and these are being made to look more aesthetically pleasing by having the odd tree.

“People should be living in far nicer places than that. We should be having far better properties designed from a street scene perspective. It’s really not acceptable.”

Councillor Ann Edgeller raised concerns about potential speeding issues on the proposed main through-road, as well as the loss of an ash tree on the site.

And councillor Tony Pearce questioned the lack of play provision for toddlers and other small children in the proposed public open space.

Joe Morgan, a resident of the new Taylor Wimpey housing development nearby, highlighted the existing pressures on local services, such as schools and healthcare facilities.

Speaking against the application, he said: “We decided to move to Stafford because it was a semi-rural development. The new development will abut a big part of the Taylor Wimpey site.

“I’m not objecting because of a Nimby attitude. We’re talking about 700 homes and a lot of families. The infrastructure isn’t there now – it has never been there since we moved in in 2015.”

But Mark Elliot, from Barratt Homes, who spoke in support of the application, said the development would help meet local housing needs.

He added: “Thirty per cent of these homes will be affordable, including a number of bungalows. We believe this proposal will deliver a high quality residential development.

“There will be contributions of £10.5 million towards education, sport and leisure off site. Seven hundred homes will generate local economic benefit.”