Controversial 100-home plan for ice cream factory near Coalville set for approval

Standard Hill homes Hugglescote Coalville EMH Pegasus Group Leicestershire County Council Highways Department North West Leicestershire District Council
The affordable homes would back on the Snibston Grange nature reserve -Credit:Keary Design Associates

Controversial plans to demolish a former ice cream factory near Coalville and replace it with 100 'affordable' homes look set to be approved. Many concerns, including traffic safety fears, have been raised over the scheme in Hugglescote.

The plan for the former Jacks Ices factory, in Standard Hill, emerged last year. It had slightly fewer homes than a previous application for 103 properties on the site. EMH Group, which is behind the scheme, said the new homes would be a mixture of “high quality” bungalows and two-storey homes, and would be close to Snibston Grange nature reserve.

However, issues raised by opponents have included long-running safety concerns over the site’s location on the brow of Standard HIll, with residents labelling potential access points “dangerous”. Councillor John Geary claimed drivers along Standard Hill regularly exceeded the speed limit and that the area itself had experienced a number of accidents.

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Street view of Jacks Ices on Standard Hill in Hugglescote
The former Jacks Ices factory would be flattened to make way for the homes -Credit:Google

As a result, officials on North West Leicestershire District Council’s (NWLDC) planning committee were called in to scrutinise the scheme. In their report on the matter, they said that previous access proposals were unsafe, but amended plans which include a ghost right turn - new road markings to create a right turn without changing the road layout - had addressed the concerns.

They also said they found that studies looking into accidents along Standard Hill found “no evidence” the 100 new homes would “exacerbate the likelihood” of future accidents, despite fears from residents. Concerns about the loss of green land and potential flooding associated with the site have also been repeatedly raised.

However, NWLDC said the land was “not protected from development” and would boast social and economic benefits if homes were built there. It also said the site is in Flood Zone 1 - the lowest risk area possible - and that flood authorities believed there was “low potential for surface water flooding”.

NWLDC, which has recommended the homes for approval subject to a number of conditions, has also said the site “exceeds” requirements for affordable housing and that the scheme’s benefits outweighed any negatives. The committee will make a final decision on Tuesday, April 30.