Executive homes plan to go ahead
CUSTOM-BUILT housing looks set to be created on a plot of green land, despite concerns raised by residents over the development.
Outline planning permission has been granted for a project to build 13 plush homes on land off Wilson Road in Hanford.
The scheme falls under Stoke-on-Trent City Council's drive to attract high-earners to live in the area, or for people living elsewhere to make the move to the Potteries.
It would allow people to buy a plot and then design and build their own dream homes.
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But the project in Hanford – which will see the homes built across the 3.5 acre site – has attracted criticism from nearby residents who claim the lavish houses will tower above their properties.
James McGraw's home on Balmoral Close sits directly behind one of the plots earmarked for a new house.
Mr McGraw, who has lived on the stretch for more than 30 years, said: "The gable end to that property won't be facing the gable end of my home but the side elevation.
"If I put my property on the market when those houses are built they will be one of the first things people see when they come to look at it."
Designs drawn up by McGraw reveal that his rear garden is 1.6 metres below the land pencilled in for development.
Neighbour Roy Parkes, who has also lived on the road for roughly 30 years, added: "It will kill the light going in to my kitchen and bathroom."
Yesterday members of the city council's development management committee approved the scheme.
However, developers will need to return to the authority with more detailed proposals once the project gathers pace.
The scheme is being replicated at Penkhull Farm, where seven plots will go under the hammer within weeks.
Council officers believe the move to sell off former farmland for custom-build housing will raise £245,000.
Plots will be offered at a starting price of £35,000 to homebuilders who have already registered an interest and will be sold to the highest bidders.
Successful buyers will then work with developers to tailor-design their home.
The plots at Hanford offer large front and back gardens set around two-storey, detached four or five-bedroom homes.
It is being promoted by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
Mark Phillips, who spoke on behalf of the HCA at yesterday's meeting, said: "Custom-built housing can make a strong contribution to economic growth. The applicant did consider a couple of other sites including Bucknall Hospital, but they were not thought to be appropriate. The council has also said there are no suitable brownfield sites.
"The development is in a sustainable location and is in accordance with planning laws. It will support the target of bringing vacant land in to use."
In previous years the land has been used for grazing and in the past has played host to two farms along with a barn and pigsty.
The existing pond on the site will be retained as designs reveal the access road will be a horse-shoe shape, running around the water feature.
City council planning officer Thomas Coates said: "This is a low density scheme and we felt it was important to maintain the pond as it really adds to the quality of the development."
Councillors also questioned whether a final scheme could involve one access point resulting in the plot by Mr McGraw's home being moved further from the boundary.