Plan for 23 homes is 'overdevelopment' say community leaders

The north-western sector of the site

The north-western sector of the site - Credit: Sue Slaven

Town leaders have labelled plans for 23 homes on a former nursery site as unacceptable, cramped and overdevelopment.

An outline planning application has been submitted for the vacant site in Snow Hill, Clare, that was formerly occupied by Townsend Nurseries.

The development would feature a mix of two-storey and single-storey homes, including six affordable properties.

The site is surrounded by the Heights estate and a number of neighbour objections have been lodged against the application.

Clare Town Council has also now objected, voicing concerns over the "unacceptable" density of the proposed development and that the town does not have the infrastructure to accommodate this scale of development.

Councillors said Clare has already taken more new residential development than envisaged under the adopted local plan.

An indicative site layout by Brown & Scarlett Architects based in Pakenham 

An indicative site layout by Brown & Scarlett Architects based in Pakenham - Credit: Brown & Scarlett Architects

They say the proposal is premature because of an emerging local plan review, and the creation of a new access onto Snow Hill - a road plagued by excessive speed and a high level of on-street parking - raises highway safety issues.

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Building 23 homes would create a "cramped, overdeveloped feeling on this site" in contrast to the neighbouring area.

The council also raised the issue of a lack of GP capacity - a concern too of the Clare Society, which said a branch surgery in the town has closed recently and the housing plans would "further impact negatively on already stretched resources".

Phil Cobbold, agent for applicants Mr C Parker and Mrs C Cockerill, said in the planning statement that the indicative layout plan "clearly demonstrates that 23 dwellings can be accommodated on the site without causing material harm to residential amenity, highway safety, the environment, or any other interests of acknowledged importance".

He said "the proposed development represents the efficient regeneration of previously developed (brownfield) land in a sustainable location and will provide economic, social and environmental benefits".

In response to concerns about traffic on the B1063 Snow Hill, Mr Cobbold said the new access road would be constructed to the relevant highway specification.

Currently, the site - which was used as nurseries until the 1950s - is made up of overgrown vegetation, one brick building and one dilapidated greenhouse.