Controversial 100-home scheme for ice cream factory site approved despite road safety fears

Street view of Jacks Ices on Standard Hill in Hugglescote
-Credit: (Image: Google)


Controversial plans for 100 homes on a former ice cream factory site have been approved despite fears “it will cause accidents”. Developers had claimed the plan was “sustainable” and won the backing of council officials.

The EMH Group plan wanted to build 100 affordable homes on the site of the former Jacks Ices factory in Hugglescote’s Standard Hill, near Coalville. But the plan garnered much criticism from opponents who feared speeding cars could pose a real risk to pedestrians, while access to the site itself from the brow of the hill was labelled “dangerous”.

A decision on the scheme had been due last month, but last minute concerns saw it deferred. Clare Clarke, from EMH’s agents Pegasus Group, believed the “sustainable” scheme should be approved this time, telling officials on North West Leicestershire District Council’s (NWLDC) Planning Committee it reflected the “needs on the housing register”. She added that they had worked to “address key concerns” raised throughout the process.

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However, councillors still feared the impacts from the scheme, with Councillor John Legrys unconvinced about access to the site. He said: “There’s a great deal of concern for residents. I remain concerned about visibility as it is on a steep gradient where visibility can be restricted.

“We’ve also discussed the speed of traffic along here and yes there is some localised widening of the road proposed by highways, but I don’t think it's sufficient. It will cause accidents.”

Highways officials had previously dismissed concerns about access and safety, believing any potential problems had been “mitigated” by EMH Group. It also believed calls from councillors and residents to introduce a 30mph speed limit along the entirety of Standard Hill as were “not appropriate”.

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

Other concerns, including increased noise from construction vehicles were raised, but Councillor Rachel Canny said the homes were needed. She said: “There’s been a lot of discussion about road construction and disruption to people. It’s very disrupting to have a building site next to you and I’m sure it will disrupt people. Does that mean we don’t build this development?

“We have a development for social housing. Very, very, very much needed social housing in this area. We need this development. I think we could do with social houses.”

Coun Ray Morris agreed, hailing the site as a “good” and “sustainable” location. He also said the site was close to the centre of Coalville and believed it should be approved on social housing grounds.

Despite the numerous concerns and objections, NWLDC’s Planning Committee overwhelmingly backed the scheme by eight votes to one. Two other councillors abstained from the vote, with the homes set to be built at a later date.

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