SAD anger over homes

PUBLISHED: 01:01 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:48 10 June 2010

FIVE years of discussion and design will come to an end in February as developers lodge plans for the first housing complex to replace the current Rolle College campus. Derbyshire-based Bloor Homes sought the opinions of Littleham residents this week as t

FIVE years of discussion and design will come to an end in February as developers lodge plans for the first housing complex to replace the current Rolle College campus.Derbyshire-based Bloor Homes sought the opinions of Littleham residents this week as they put final touches to designs for a planned 52-home project in The Avenues.The Save Our Avenues from Despoliation (SAD) group - formed in 2003 as a response to former proposals for the complex, at the Hasledene site in Cyprus Road - met to voice concerns that the scale of the project will impact badly on the leafy area.Monday's discussion at the Rolle campus, attended by more than 50 residents, marked the third meeting between developers and SAD.Members of the group voiced frustration that, despite Bloor Homes' promises to listen to concerns, the number of houses set for the 0.93 hectare site remained 52 - the same figure criticised at a previous meeting in December 2007.SAD want no more than 42 houses on site, and point to their own Avenues Design Statement - officially adopted by district council planners - which designates the Cyprus Road area as a site of low housing density. Planning consultant Neal Jillings, representing Bloor Homes through planners Foot Anstey, insisted the scale of development had improved since Bloor's initial 2007 plans for 106 properties on the former student accommodation site.Mr Anstey described the scale of development as a "balance" - forced by district council rules meaning 40 per cent of properties must be 'affordable housing'.The affordable homes are set to be placed in a four-storey apartment. Members of the SAD group preferred housing - saying young families, trapped by flats, would move on quickly, a detriment to community-building.SAD chairman Mark Tribble said: "These plans set a precedent, and will future developers come here and say '40 per cent, okay, we will just put a block of flats up? Is that acceptable?"Developers described plans for the site's 29 trees - eight of which will be replaced after being declared unsound and unsafe. Four of those eight trees represent the site's larger specimens and developers will replace them with younger trees which are already seven metres high. With car parking on and off-site also a concern, architects will return to their drawing boards before official plans go to EDDC in the coming weeks.

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