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Planning Permission refused at Lower Packington Road - 7 January 2014

The District Council Planning Committee this evening voted unanimously to refuse planning permission for Hallam Land's application for 70 houses at Lower Packington Road. 

This was against the advice of their Officers, who conceded at the meeting that the arguments against development were strong.

Our thanks once again to everyone who supported our objections to this application - especially those who made their own representations and who came to the meeting in Coalville today.


 New Hallam Plans for Packington Nook - 25 June 2013

We're expecting Hallam Land Management to bring forward a new planning application in the next few weeks for the Packington Nook site.  The proposal is for 70 houses on the field between Mill Farm and the football pitches, with an entrance opposite to Cambrian Way, as shown below:

It is the latest in a series of major applications for Ashby - and one at Moira Road is now set to go ahead because North West Leicestershire District Council could not defend the absence of a strategic plan.  As soon as we learn further details on this new planning application at Lower Packington Road we will post here.

PNRA raises concerns on HS2 compensation - 19 April 2013

Packington Nook Residents’ Association (PNRA) has today submitted its response to the consultation on the HS2 Exceptional Hardship Scheme, which seeks public views on the compensation offered to people directly affected by the announcement of the new high speed railway between Birmingham and Leeds.

The line, which will see 250 mph trains running every few minutes, cuts through North West Leicestershire following a route alongside the A42.  PNRA believes the government is imposing the worst possible social consequences on the people of Ashby de la Zouch, Packington, Measham and Appleby Magna.  The line is so close to houses at Measham, that the whole A42 itself must be moved slightly west.

PNRA has raised strong concerns, not only about the impact of the line on residents who live nearby, but also the inevitable effect on their ability to sell their houses now that the route has been announced.  Whilst some residents will want to sell their houses because of the line, there is a lot of natural turnover in property which is now fundamentally affected by the proposed route.  People moving houses because of changes of employment, growing families, retirement or downsizing are all going to be adversely affected – particularly by the view prospective buyers will have of the upheaval and noise caused by the line.

Whilst decisions are being made about the business case, or the route of HS2, it is unreasonable of the government to expect residents to put important lifestyle decisions on hold.  Local estate agents in Ashby de la Zouch are already reporting house sales that have fallen through, following the government’s announcement on the HS2 route.  Consequently PNRA believes that the scope and the timing of the exceptional hardship scheme should be expanded and brought forward.  PNRA has told the consultation that the Exceptional Hardship criteria should allow those who need to sell for good reasons unrelated to HS2, particularly for life stage changes, to do so and be compensated where necessary.  The PNRA response has also provided World Health Organisation and EU noise criteria to define the extent of properties affected by HS2 together with the existing noise from major roads.  These affected properties are often not immediately next to the proposed line.

“It is clear this is having an immediate effect on the local housing market” commented Nigel Garnham, Chairman of PNRA.  “Local people are understandably worried not only about the future impact of HS2 but on the immediate effect on their lives now that the proposed route is known.  The simple knowledge that there might be HS2 – however far in the future it will be – is already having a detrimental impact on people and their properties”. 

PNRA has also called for the establishment of an independent appeals panel to adjudicate on cases where hardship payments have not been granted.

Local people must join together to object to the route of HS2 - 6 March 2013

Packington Nook Residents’ Association has today written to both North West Leicestershire District Council and Leicestershire County Council to seek a common position on the route of the proposed High Speed 2 rail line between Birmingham and Leeds.

The line, which will see 250 mph trains running every few minutes, cuts through North West Leicestershire following a route alongside the A42.  Whilst the government appears to believe that associating the line to the “A42 corridor” is the best cost and environmental solution, they are at the same time imposing the worst possible social consequences on the people of Ashby, Packington, Measham and Appleby Magna.  The line is so close to houses at Measham, that the whole A42 itself must be moved slightly west.

PNRA has drawn the councils’ attention to the alternative routes considered in the governments engineering reports.  One in particular, takes HS2 substantially to the east of Measham and Packington, at slightly more cost but without the massive upheaval to so many local people.

“We believe that our local councils and councillors must join us in taking a stand against this route” commented Nigel Garnham, Chairman of PNRA. “We will not accept that ‘the route is the route’ and local people must not be subdued into thinking that nothing can be done.  Whilst alternatives are clearly possible, we want to see our elected bodies working hard for the best interests of local people”.

A strategy being pursued by North West Leicestershire District Council and Leicestershire County Council tries to promote Derby station as an alternative to the government’s preferred location of a station at Toton, near Nottingham.  The government has already rejected a route along the A38 to Derby and it is highly unlikely that there will be any major changes of the kind needed that ensures HS2 avoids North West Leicestershire altogether.  PNRA has called on the councils to be realistic and put first the concerns and issues of local residents who are very worried about the blight to their homes and lives.  A relatively minor diversion to the route around Measham and Ashby would make a big difference to a lot of people.

PNRA also called upon the councils to form a clear position that questions the fundamental business case of HS2 and promotes regional employment and use of telecommunications, to replace the presumption that more people will want to commute to London.

Planning permission refused and appeal dismissed!! – 17 March 2010

As released to the press today…

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham, has announced that he has refused planning permission for the building of over 1000 houses at the Packington Nook site, land south of Ashby de la Zouch.


The decision, following a public inquiry in the town last October, identified and agreed with all of the issues raised by Packington Nook Residents’ Association (PNRA).  Following the Inquiry, the report of the Planning Inspector, Graham Cundale, recommended refusal and stated that if development went ahead there would be:


  • significant harm to the landscape and the character of the town
  • shortcomings in the quality of the residential environment on parts of the site owing to noise from the A42
  • an undue risk of harm to road safety – taking on board PNRA concerns about the increased traffic in the town and the likely “rat-runs” in nearby residential streets, such as Cambrian Way and Windsor Road
  • shortcomings in the sustainability of the site location – adding that the location would be very attractive to commuters who would drive to the West Midlands and other urban areas
  • prejudice to the outcome of North West Leicestershire District Council’s Core Strategy process – which is still consulting on where the best location for housing in the district should be


However, it is the risk to the habitat in the River Mease – a European designated Special Area of Conservation, which has caused the most concern and been pivotal in the decision to refuse permission.  The Inspector did not accept Hallam’s proposals to clean sewage from the site with new equipment at Packington Sewage Works and doubted if they could be delivered in time.  The current high levels of phosphates in the River Mease are a threat to endangered species including native White-Clawed Crayfish and Otters.  Following objections by the Environment Agency and Natural England, development in the Ashby and Measham area is on hold for the foreseeable future.


“We are absolutely delighted with this news and extremely satisfied that the Inspector and Secretary of State has both heard and taken on-board our views” commented Nigel Garnham, Chairman of Packington Nook Residents’ Association.  “At the inquiry we showed how over 98% of local residents surveyed were opposed to development at the Packington Nook site and had clearly stated concerns on ecology, traffic and impact on our market town.”


He continued “We hope this decision will send a clear message to developers that acquiring some land does not provide immediate rights to build on it.  The concerns of local people matter and PNRA has used that strength of opinion to take part in this process, which has now come to a satisfactory conclusion.”


We would like to thank everyone who had supported the PNRA campaign and to the officers of North West Leicestershire Council, the Environment Agency, the Highways Agency, Leicestershire County Council and Natural England, with whom PNRA worked closely at the Inquiry.


You can see the full text of the inquiry report and the Secretary of State’s letter at our links page.

Development in Ashby at a standstill - Council Statement - 4 February 2010

Concerns about pollution in the River Mease Special Area of Conservation have now brought all development in the river's catchment to a halt.  In an unusual press release, North West Leicestershire District Council have announced a stop to all planning permission whilst discussions continue with the Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water and Natural England to find a solution.  The moratorium affects Ashby, Measham and several surrounding villages, reflecting a blanket objection made by the Environment Agency when Hallam applied for permission covering 115 houses at the Packington Nook site last spring.

We understand that levels of organophosphates are already well above satisfactory levels required to maintain river life in this extremely sensitive habitat.  The solution may require Severn Trent to install expensive chemical treatment facilities at Packington Sewage Works.  However, as the Packington Nook Inquiry heard last October, that does not guarantee a solution.  The effect of chemical cleansing may simply add a different pollutant to the river.  Severn Trent are saying that it may be 2015 at the earliest before anything can be done.  Meantime, the council will have to get a watertight legal position in place to defend any actions from those who thought they had planning permission, but are now being told they cannot build.

As well as affecting the most minor planning applications (even a small extension which comprises a new toilet), the council's position affects policy for housing growth across the district in the Local Development Framework.   It may be well after the General Election before anything can be decided by the council to move that forward.

In memory of David Taylor MP - 27 December 2009

We have been very saddened to hear of the sudden death of our MP, David Taylor, who collapsed at Calke Abbey yesterday. 

David, who was 63, had been a supporter of PNRA from the outset and will be fondly remembered as one of the most hardworking Members of Parliament in the country.  He had been member for North West Leicestershire since 1997 and planned to step down at the next election.

Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with his family at this sad time.

Hallam plans under attack from all sides during Public Inquiry - 1 November 2009

The Hallam proposal for development at Packington Nook was attacked from all sides at the three week public inquiry, which ended on Friday. 

The inquiry, saw not less than 5 central and local government bodies opposing the development, together with Packington Nook Residents' Association and two developers - MoneyHill Consortium and Nurton Developments - who have sites to the north of the town.  North West Leicestershire District Council argued throughout the case that the development sought to pre-empt the outcome of their Local Development Framework, which is producing a core strategy for house building across the district up until 2026.  Hallam Land said that they could deliver housing at the Packington Nook site faster than anyone else and this would fill the gap in the local housing supply for the next 5 years.

But Hallam's appeal has been severely compromised by strong objections from the Environment Agency and Natural England, who argued that any further development in Ashby would discharge unacceptable levels of phosphates into the River Mease, which is an internationally recognised Special Area of Conservation.  At-risk species in the area include white-clawed crayfish and otters.  A scheme proposed by Hallam to deal with this problem was shot to pieces by the Environment Agency under cross-examination, who argued that it was unproven, not properly costed and did not have the agreement of Severn Trent Water, who would need to install specialised equipment at Packington Sewage Works.

The Highways Agency and Leicestershire County Council were represented at the inquiry and told the Inspector, Graham Cundale, they had been unable to reach any agreement with Hallam on the impact to local roads and in congestion at junction 13 of the A42.  Packington Nook Residents Association have maintained throughout that the medieval road system in the town centre could not cope with additional traffic the 3000 people living in the development would bring, adding that the development was out of scale with the town, would damage the landscape and historic context of the Ashby and unsustainably re-inforce the role of the town as a dormitory for people who wanted to commute to Nottingham and the West Midlands.

"The inquiry has been our long-awaited opportunity to debate the issues of development in Ashby and building at this site" commented Nigel Garnham, Chairman of PNRA.  "It is extremely unusual for so many government agencies to join forces against a housing development and Hallam Land must have been overwhelmed by all these barristers being brought to Ashby to oppose their plans.  We identified the core ecology and highways issues when PNRA was formed last year and we are pleased that we have been able to tell the Inspector about our surveys, which showed over 95% of local people were against large scale development in the town and building at Packington Nook". 

Mr Garnham went on to thank all the local residents who had given their time and money to fight the appeal, as well as North West Leicestershire District Council and the other opposers for their commitment to the inquiry.

The Inspector is expected to report his findings in about two months.  If, as predicted, he agrees with the Environment Agency and Natural England, it will be unlikely that any futher building will be permitted in the town for several years, unless developers are able to pipe their sewage away from the River Mease area. This is a possibility for proposed sites to the north of the town, but not at Packington Nook.

Packington Nook Public Inquiry gets underway - 13 October 2009

The long awaited public inquiry into development of the Packington Nook site is underway.  A government Inspector will consider whether 1100 houses should be built on the land, south of Lower Packington Road, following an appeal brought by developers Hallam Land Management.  The inquiry - expect to last three weeks - is being held at the Royal Hotel in Ashby and has attracted a lot of interest as many issues affecting the site are those which apply to development in the town as a whole.  It starts amid increasing concern that the council may target more house building in Ashby to meet the aggressive targets of their emerging Core Strategy.

The inquiry will hear evidence from the Environment Agency, outlining serious concerns at the damage any further development in Ashby could do to the River Mease Special Area of Conservation.  The discharge of phosphates, in particular, is something that is very difficult to resolve and would require enormous investment at Severn Trent's Packington sewage works.

PNRA has opposed the development at this site from the outset of the developer's consultations in summer 2008 and will be taking an active part in the inquiry.  We will present evidence covering planning and public opinion, local highways and ecology.  This evidence is due to be heard on Friday 16th October.

Commenting on the inquiry, PNRA Chairman Nigel Garnham said "We are ready for this inquiry and it is our long awaited opportunity to debate the issues affecting the Packington Nook site and the wider effects any large-scale development will have on the town.  As well as bringing local knowledge, we are armed with public support and the results of two surveys that show conclusively that 95% of  local people are against large scale development, as well as any building at this site."  He went on to say "we urge everyone who cares about the future of Ashby to come to the inquiry and hear about important decisions that could fundamentally change our town for ever".

Our AGM hears of preparations for Packington Nook Inquiry - 17 September 2009

Residents vowed to do all in their power to stop a housing development worth £150,000,000 taking place in Ashby de la Zouch.  At the Annual General meeting of the Packington Nook Residents Association, supporters were told that three witnesses would give evidence to the planning inquiry for 1,100 houses on the site to the south of Ashby de la Zouch.  PNRA will tackle planning policy, local highways and ecology supported by a barrister.

Chairman, Nigel Garnham, said that although Hallam Land was able to pay for the best consultants and best barristers money could buy, right was on our side.


Over the year, PNRA has raised £13,000 from donations which has enabled it to secure legal and planning advice for the inquiry on October 13th at the Royal Hotel.


He said that objections to the housing had also been received from the Highways Agency, the Environment Agency, Natural England, Leicestershire County Council, and North West Leicestershire District Council.


Mr Garnham pointed out what the group had achieved so far. 

  • There had been two public meetings attended by over two hundred residents. 
  • Two surveys of the people of Ashby. In the first, 3,375 people responded, 98% of whom were against building in Packington Nook. In a second door to door survey in December, 1,456 households were consulted. 95% of the respondents felt Ashby couldn't cope with more than 500 houses.
  • Actively contributed to formal strategic planning initiatives at both district and regional level.

"We will represent the views of local people and we have the strength of these surveys," he said.


The Treasurer, Susan Boardman-Westman, thanked everybody who had made a donation which had enabled us to engage expert advice.  She said the amount raised showed how strongly people felt.  The committee members were all re-elected for another year unopposed.


New fears on pollution as 115 homes application is rejected - 5 August 2009

All major housing developments in Ashby de la Zouch may be doomed for at least five years due to concerns about the quality of river water.

The news comes as North West Leicestershire District Council unanimously rejected plans to build 115 houses on the Lower Packington Road site south of Ashby de la Zouch.  It was in part thrown out because of worries about the levels of phosphates from sewage entering the Gilwiskaw brook and polluting the River Mease Special Area of Conservation downstream.  The river is home to rare species including otters and white clawed crayfish. The levels of phosphate in the river water are currently unsatisfactory and not improving.

The Environment Agency said that any such development should not be allowed if it discharges sewage through the existing treatment works in Packington.  It could only happen in the future if expensive phosphate removal processes were created to stop the pollution getting into the river.  It's stance was backed up by Natural England.

This decision puts Hallam Land's plan for 1,100 houses at Packington Nook in serious jeopardy.  This is subject to a Planning Inquiry in October.  It also brings into serious doubt proposed developments at Leicester Road and at Money Hill.  

The news was greeted with delight by Packington Nook Residents Association, who this week wrote to the Chief Executive
of the Environment Agency demanding they attend the planning inquiry to bring this evidence against the Packington Nook development.  PNRA Chairman, Nigel Garnham, said "This evidence is extremely important and we have told the Environment Agency in no uncertain terms that they have a public duty to make sure it is brought before the Inspector at the
Planning Inquiry for over 1000 homes at the Packington Nook site". 

The issue has also thrown the North West Leicestershire District Council's long term housing plans for the area into chaos. Without significant and expensive water treatment upgrades, there can be no further development in the town, or indeed anywhere in the River Mease catchment.

Government sets local precedent on greenbelt development - 10 July 2009

In a worrying development at nearby Rushcliffe, south of Nottingham, the Secretary of State has overturned the local council and resident objections to approve a 1200 houses development near Edwalton.

See the full report here.

What is particularly concerning about this is that the Secretary of State has stated that the development is not premature in relation to the local council's emerging planning guidelines and that the urgent need for housing outweighs inappropriate development of the green belt. 

We will be putting more pressure on our councillors at North West Leicestershire Council to make sure that policy issues around the local plan are completely water-tight ahead of the planning inquiry for Packington Nook, which take place in October.  There is a serious risk, if that is not the case, that the inspector will over-rule all the local objections and technical issues to grant planning permission and hence guide the council to hit their target for the next 5 years.

NWLDC Planners vote against 1000+ homes at Packington Nook - 2 June 2009

The Planning Committee of NW Leics District Council met tonight and unanimously voted against the Hallam Land application for 1000+ homes at the Packington Nook site.  Whilst this is a formality - the application now being at appeal with the Planning Inspectorate - councillors also authorised the defence of their position at the planning inquiry.

There were many objections to the application - primarily from Leicestershire County Council and the Highways Agency.  As well as PNRA, 218 neighbours had written objecting, together with developers promoting other sites in the district.

Speaking at the Planning Committee meeting, Chris Miles from Packington Parish Council said that the development risked Packington losing its village identity and reminded the meeting of the continuing danger of flooding from the Gilwiskaw Brook.  PNRA Chairman, Nigel Garnham, then went on to remind the council that the site is outside the adopted local plan and it was for elected local representatives to make decisions on planning policy - not developers seeking financial gain.

View the content of our representation here.

The officers at NWLDC will now work with their legal representatives in preparing the case for the planning inquiry, which we expect to be in October 2009.

Hallam Land submits application for start of phased development at Packington Nook - 18 May 2009

As well as taking their 1000+ homes application to the Planning Inspectors, Hallam Land are now seeking planning permission for 115 homes on part of the larger site, covering land between Lower Packington Road and Packington Nook Lane.  Once again, this land is still open countryside and outside the development limits of the town based on current planning strategy.   A plan of the proposed partial development is shown below.

The timing of this application, which the council must determine by the end of August 2009, is likely to ensure that the planning inquiry (which we expect to be in October) will be presented with both the 1000+ homes application AND the 115 homes application.  This tactic will suggest to the inspector that a fall-back option exists.

We oppose both applications for the site.  Hallam Land did not engage with their plans for the whole site in order to build only 115 homes.  If granted, this application will "prove" the site from a strategic planning perspective and open the way to many subsequent applications which will populate the whole site.

The planning application can be viewed via our links page.  As soon as we have more detail on our response, it will be posted on the website.

Packington Nook Residents' Association challenges Hallam Land to a Public Debate - 4 May 2009

Update: As anticipated, Hallam Land have declined our offer of a debate.  Instead, they see the Planning Inquiry as the time we will meet to discuss the issues!

Packington Nook Residents' Association has challenged Hallam Land to a Public Debate on the development at the Packington Nook site.  In an open letter to the Managing Director of Hallam Land, PNRA Chairman, Nigel Garnham, drew attention to the proposed second track of development  that Hallam have announced, starting with a 115 homes proposal for fields between Lower Packington Road and Western Park.  Taking an advertisement in Ashby Times, Hallam are asking for public comments on this proposal.

Our open letter, which has also been sent to the local media, can be seen in full here.

We believe that the views of the public have been completely ignored by the developer.  By taking to appeal their application for over 1000 homes at the site, so soon after the council failed to determine an outcome is, we believe, a blatant and opportunistic attempt to bypass local democracy.  Asking for further public comments about their plans is an empty public relations stunt.

In the open letter to Hallam, we said:

There is an active and lively debate within North West Leicestershire (as indeed throughout the country) about housing growth and the district council has spent a lot of time and money considering the options.  Local democracy is an important and fundamentally instituted part of the infrastructure of our society in Britain.  The chance for elected local councillors to vote on both strategic plans and individual planning applications is something we should cherish. 


As part of the planning process, consultation with the public is very important and that, of course, is why you retain a public relations company to deal with that very delicate task.  You will know that we have helped you by asking over 3500 local people what they thought about both your planning application and large scale development of Ashby.  The results are compelling - over 95% are against the large scale development of Ashby and 98% are against building on the Packington Nook Site.  Feedback gathered at your own consultations and presented as part of your application also, I believe, made it very clear that people don't want development at this site.


In the formal planning process, conducted by North West Leicestershire District Council, not only have many individual members of the public objected to your application, but important statutory consultees including Leicestershire County Council, the Environment Agency and the Highways Agency, have outlined their serious reservations about the site. 


So you will understand that we are unimpressed by your decision to bypass local democracy and the due processes of a very busy planning department, by referring the application to appeal with HM Planning Inspectorate. You are invited to take part in a live public debate which will focus specifically on your plans for the development of the Packington Nook site.  It will be you and me and the people of Ashby.  There will be no glossy leaflets, no public relations people and no planning officers.  We will find someone independent to chair the event at which you and I will both make our cases and then we will field questions from the public.


Our challenge to a public debate is a serious one.  We believe there is a right for the people of Ashby to be heard.  As soon as we get a response from Hallam Land, if we get a response, we'll publish it here.  Meanwhile, PNRA are asking their supporters for urgent funding to cover the professional services of consultants during the preparation of our appeal submissions.  You can read more about that on our Donations page.

Hallam Land makes planning appeal for Packington Nook site and announces fall-back plan for smaller development - 23 April 2009

Hallam Land have submitted a planning appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, on the basis that NW Leicestershire planners have not determined their application for the Packington Nook site within the required timeframe.  In a letter to Ashby Civic Society, Jackie Alderson - on behalf of Hallam Land said that Hallam would also be considering a smaller development on the Packington Nook site, which uses only land they already own. 

We regard the decision to go to appeal as a blatant attempt by Hallam to bypass local democracy.  In spite of their claimed interest in involving the local community, Hallam have identified a delay in the planning process to their advantage.  Not only have so many local residents made clear objections to the plan, but also major statutory consultees including Leicestershire County Council, Ashby Town Council and the Environment Agency have made detailed opposition to their proposals. 

We have so far not received any comment on this from the planners at North West Leicestershire Council, but it is clear that Hallam will be appealing for the Planning Inspectors to put government development policy on housing volumes ahead of local issues.  We know that many of the objections from statutory consultees highlighted major deficiencies in the Hallam application and for an application of this size, it is probably not surprising that NWLDC planners have over-run by a few weeks. 

The smaller development proposal which, as Hallam puts it, would "help address the housing shortfall within the District" suggests 115 homes on an area off Lower Packington Road, shown below.  However, we believe this to be a tactic used by many developers.  If allowed, it will set a precedent and be the thin end of a much larger wedge of housing that Hallam really want on the site.  There is no indication yet, however, if Hallam intend to submit this proposal for planning permission alongside their much larger plan for the Packington Nook site.  There are clear issues with the smaller site, mainly that the only vehicle access is onto Lower Packington Road, which Hallam already know cannot take more traffic.


PNRA makes another deputation to NW Leicestershire Council - 26 February 2009

We made a deputation to the full meeting of NW Leics District Council tonight, presenting the results of our survey of Ashby and Packington for view of local residents on the Local Development framework (see next story).

On behalf of the council, Cllr Nick Rushton thanked PNRA for their hard work and commented that the LDF process and deciding where to locate all the houses allocated to the district was a major task for the planning authority.  He moved a motion, supported unanimously by councillors, to note the results of our survey and refer to the Environment Scrutinty Committee of the council.

View the content of our deputation here.

Ashby says NO to large-scale development - 7 January 2009

In November and December 2008, we surveyed households across Ashby and Packington for views on key questions in the NW Leicestershire Local Development Framework (LDF) consultation.  The LDF is the process used by the planning authority to plan housing and industrial development, infrastructure and services towards the year 2026.  The questions we asked related to important questions we felt should be asked of all residents – in particular, the possibility of Ashby being targeted for large-scale development.


The results are overwhelmingly conclusive.  From 1456 responses, over 95% of households stated they were against large-scale development and wanted 500 additional homes or less.  Residents also showed they had strong concerns about the infrastructure in Ashby – with many agreeing strongly that health services, roads, public transport and sewage systems were already struggling to cope with the existing population.


View the results here.


The results were presented to Ian Nelson – Head of Planning Policy at NW Leicestershire Council in December 2008 and will form an important part of the PNRA response to the consultation, which we expect to submit in February 2009.

Ashby Town Councillors reject Hallam proposals for Packington Nook - 5 January 2009

The Planning Committee of Ashby de la Zouch Town Council has voted unanimously to object to the planning application made by Hallam Land for the Packington Nook site.  At their meeting this evening, Town Councillors reviewed the Hallam plan and expressed strong views against large-scale development of the town and in particular the unsustainability of the Hallam proposals, which they described as "adding a village to the side of the town".

This decision breaks months of silence from our local councillors and is warmly welcomed by the PNRA.  Prior to the decision, Chris Tandy presented arguments against the development and reminded the committee of strong public objections, voiced by our summer survey with 98% of 3500 local people against the development at Packington Nook and our recent survey showing that 95% of 1500 local households are against large-scale development of the town. 

The committee agreed to make their objections to NW Leicestershire planners, stating that as well as opposing the Hallam application, they felt it was inappropriately timed - given the current consultation on the Local Development Framework.  They also agreed to endorse the statements made by Chris - on behalf of Ashby Civic Society and Packington Nook Residents' Association - and to enclose them with their letter of objection.

Santa takes a break to deliver our Local Development Survey results! - 18 December 2008

Amid the sound of sleigh-bells and restless reindeer, Santa delivered the PNRA Local Development survey results to planners at NW Leicestershire council today.  The survey, to which over 1500 households in Ashby and Packington responded, showed that over 95% were against large-scale development in Ashby.  It also demonstrated that local people felt that health services, roads and car parks, public transport and the sewage system needed urgent expansion to cope with the existing population.

Commenting on the PNRA survey, Santa told us that his own resources were already over-stretched in Ashby.  "I hope developers, such as Hallam Land, don't think they can sneak in planning applications whilst everyone is busy being good and preparing for Christmas" he gruffed through his thick white beard.  Already, many people have sent the council their objections to the Hallam Land application for Packington Nook.

Pictured above - receiving the card from Santa - is Ian Nelson, Head of Planning Policy at NW Leicestershire Council.  He was positive about the PNRA involvement in their consultation process and explained that the deadline for submissions on the Local Development Framework had been extended to February.

Our thanks to everyone who helped with the survey - and to Michele Paduano for getting an appointment in Santa's busy diary!

Another packed Public Meeting shows strong opposition to large-scale development in Ashby - 28 November 2008

Around 200 local people came to our Public Meeting at Ivanhoe School last night and heard arguments against large-scale development across Ashby.

Along with Packington Nook Residents' Association - again stating our clear case against the Hallam proposal for south of Ashby - all sites being considered for development in Ashby were considered.  Acting PNRA Chairman, Chris Tandy, told the meeting that over the past 10 years there had been a disproportionately high creeping development in Ashby, resulting in the town already taking far more than our fair share of housing.  This has not only caused strain on local services, but the road and sewage systems were already under immense pressure and flooding and the ongoing threat to the environment, particularly the Mease Special Area of Conservation, were now a major concern.

The proposed Wilson development at Leicester Road was addressed by Michael Llewellyn from RAID, who have been campaigning for several years.  He spoke of their own concerns about the effect on Ashby and, in particular, the inevitable increase in cars in an area of the town with existing traffic problems.  Paul Andrew spoke about the proposed Colonnade Group development at Money Hill, to the north of Ashby.  This enormous site was, he said, "completely out of scale with Ashby and would have a devastating effect on our historic market town".

Whilst all Ashby town councillors, along with our representatives on NW Leicestershire Council and Leicestershire County Council were invited to the meeting, none attended.  A quick survey at the meeting showed that only six people had been aware of the Local Development Framework consultation before seeing our publicity.

Severn Trent fined following Packington sewage discharge - 4 October 2008

Severn Trent Water - who run the sewage treatment works at Packington - have been fined £13,500 for storm sewage discharge into the Gilwiskaw Brook Special Area of Conservation (SAC).  The incident, reported on 1st October 2007, resulted in more than 18,000 fish from 12 species – including roach, pike, bream and minnows - being killed, when monitoring equipment failed and allowed the untreated sewage to flow out.

Read the full story here.

This highlights the immense sensitivity of the co-existence of drainage and sewage treatment in the area.  Many of the main sewers from the town take a route similar to the Gilwiskaw Brook to get to Packington Sewage works.  When there is heavy rainfall, it's inevitable that the sewers will become overloaded.  Many in Ashby, particularly in the Avenue Road and Willesley Road area, already experience gurgling toilets and others have had sewerage manholes in their gardens burst open.

The results can often be very dramatic, as our picture here shows.  This is next to the pumping station which takes sewage from Ashby under the A42.

It's another sign of how the infrastructure supporting Ashby is already creaking and we believe it will be unable to cope with further development of the town. 

Packed Public Meeting rallies support for PNRA Campaign – 25 September 2008

Our campaign against the Hallam Development at Packington Nook gathered more pace last night, when over 200 local people came to our Public Meeting at Ivanhoe School.

Bob Mitchell – PNRA Chairman – led the meeting, which heard how detailed technical arguments, backed up by overwhelming public support, would lead our objections to the Hallam Land application for planning permission, which we understand is to be submitted to NW Leicestershire Council in mid-October.

The meeting heard how traffic, flooding and environmental issues would lead the basis of our objections, but the audience drew attention to many other issues affecting the town.  The provision of education and health services were cited as areas of serious concern.  Many  in the audience expressed their views on the latest Hallam Consultation, held last weekend.  The proposed closure of Lower Packington Road – between Cambrian Way and Windsor Road – was highlighted.  “This will just move the rat-run to our road”, commented a resident of Windsor Road.  On flooding and sewerage one resident commented “Severn Trent spend more time in my garden than me!”, highlighting existing problems with the ability of sewage pumping stations to cope with the effluent produced in Ashby.  A local GP described how their practice was already “bulging” with patients.

We hope to have further public meetings, particularly focussing on the overall development of the town.  Watch the website for further information.


PNRA Deputation to NW Leicestershire Council - 9 September 2008

Following the enormous show of support by local people in our Survey, we took a deputation to the fully meeting of NW Leicestershire Council this evening.  Flanked by soldiers in Civil War uniform, over 40 supporters of PNRA braved the rain to underline the strength of feeling against the proposed development at Packington Nook.

PNRA Chairman, Bob Mitchell, briefed councillors on the outcome on the survey and asked that every comment card was given a response.  He also demanded that the views of local people were taken account in planning policy in Ashby and drew attention to serious concerns about how the infrastructure of Ashby would cope with further large scale development, together with the increased risk of flooding in Packington and disastrous potential impact to the River Mease Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Our deputation was supported by the presence of David Taylor MP, who has endorsed the campaign against the development.

The council voted to refer the matter on to the Environment Scrutiny Subcommittee in order that the issues were properly reviewed.


PNRA Survey Results Announced - 9 September 2008

98% SAY NO to the proposed Hallam Development at Packington Nook.

Our survey is now complete and the response from local people has been overwhelming.  A total of 3375 comment cards have been received from canvassing door-to-door and interviewing shoppers in Market Street.  Full details of the survey can be found on our Survey Results page.

We are presenting the results to the full meeting of North West Leicestershire District Council tonight. 


PNRA Campaign boosted by support from David Taylor MP - 5 September 2008

Our campaign has received a major endorsement from our local MP, David Taylor, who wrote to the committee this week.  Mr Taylor expresses strong concerns about the development of Ashby and the likely effects of the Packington Nook development.  This is what he told us:

"I am very concerned about the short, medium and long-term threats to Ashby from prospective developers.  I have given my strong support to the RAID group who are resisting the substantial developments proposed for land off Leicester Road and I should like, as well to offer my assistance to the Packington Nook Residents Association in your fight against the Hallam Land (HL) proposals.

Any growth, both in and around Ashby, in the years which lie ahead, needs to be both organic and sustainable.  From what I can see the HL application is neither.  I think your letter to Leicestershire County Council encapsulates precisely why this misbegotten proposal is not viable on transport grounds and there are a range of other tests which it fails in respect of social and environmental impact (including its potential effect - via the Gilwhiskaw Brook - on the adjacent village of Packington)."

Mr Taylor went on to ask for a meeting with PNRA activists to understand our strategy and offer his meaningful assistance to the campaign.


PNRA supporters lobby council - 12 August 2008

There was a good turnout tonight from PNRA supporters at the Environment Scrutiny Committee meeting of NW Leicestershire Council, at which draft proposals were discussed for potential housing development sites in the district.  In order to hit the targets set by the government, about 12000 homes need to be constructed in the area up to 2026.  Of these, about 3000 will be on sites already designated for development.  However, councillors considered a document that identified sites for total build of over 20,000 homes - so the majority of these will not be going ahead.

The council says it has a duty to give consideration to whatever sites are proposed and that no decisions are being made at present.

With the exception of Leicester Road, none of the major proposed sites around Ashby are currently designated as development land, including the Hallam Proposal for Packington Nook.

Let's hope we can persuade them to keep Packington Nook that way!

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