‘We want a community – not a rural ghetto’

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Plans for 16 new homes in Kentford have been approved, despite a parish councillor’s fears that it would create a rural ghetto.

The development at Kennett Park, which includes five affordable homes, was given the go-ahead by Forest Heath District Council’s development control committee on Wednesday.

But concerns were raised about the impact the houses would have on village infrastructure and some councillors felt that the land should be used to create jobs.

Bill Rampling, chairman of Moulton Parish Council and a member of the recently formed Forest Heath Rural Parishes’ Alliance, told the committee before the discussion: “The key element to this site is the effect it will have on the future sustainability of the village.

“We need doctors’ surgeries and pharmacies. We want a community, not a rural ghetto.”

Kentford has been earmarked by the district council as a ‘primary village’ which can accommodate up to 50 houses in one development, according to the authority’s place shaping manager Marie Smith.

But in February, plans to build 60 houses in Kentford Lodge were passed and Cllr Simon Cole questioned whether the application by Kennett Park LLP would be sustainable and pointed to a report based on a planning inspection undertaken in Kentford last year.

“The inspector thought that Kentford services were already at tipping point and since that report we have already put through 50 or 60 houses.”

“Is this the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Is this one too many?”

Cllr Warwick Hirst said: “I am turning it down on the basis of the quality of the houses. It would lead us to an expensive cul-de-sac.”

As part of their planning consent the developers will have to contribute nearly £90,000 for open space, sport and recreation services and over £60,000 for education needs in the area.