'Green' plan turned down

PUBLISHED: 19:39 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:45 11 May 2010

PLANS for a green eco-community development have been turned down. This was in spite of the current site being described as unsightly and unquestionably a scar on the landscape . The plans submitted to North Herts District Council involved the develo

PLANS for a "green" eco-community development have been turned down.

This was in spite of the current site being described as "unsightly" and "unquestionably a scar on the landscape".

The plans submitted to North Herts District Council involved the development of 14 eco-dwellings on a site at Sunnymead Farm in Station Road, Ashwell.

But planning officer Richard Tiffin told members of the planning control committee in a report: "Sustainable development cannot be defined simply as the production of zero-carbon homes."

He was concerned that any carbon savings would be lost due to the need of residents using private vehicles.

"From a sustainable point of view this is not an ideal site as it would un-doubtedly rely heavily on the use of private vehicles," he said.

"The applicant's attempt to specify the scheme and buildings as a self-contained eco-community is admirable if not entirely convincing."

Mr Tiffin said that simply allowing a development in order to tidy a site would be a "risky approach" and could set a precedent for the future.

He did admit, however, that the scheme posed some "interesting planning questions" which were seeking to take advantage of the Government's keen-ness to see sustainable developments.

"This submission begs questions of principle and, quite rightly, seeks to test the council's interpretation of the Government's sustainable development agenda," said Mr Tiffin.

Earlier Mr Tiffin said that residents in the area had opposed the scheme over such issues as an increase in noise and traffic and the number of properties being planned for the site.

He added, however, that a scheme submitted for a smaller scale development may allow a more positive view.

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