Building more than 80 homes on farmland adjoining a Stone sports club would exacerbate existing traffic problems, local residents fear. At a 7th October public consultation at Little Stoke Cricket club, Richborough Estates and planning design firm Turley revealed outline plans to build 85 homes on the field below the cricket club on Uttoxeter Road.
Richborough Estates is a strategic land company which works with landowners to sell sites with outline planning permission to developers.
The 85 dwellings are not identified in the Local Plan for Stafford Borough, which sets a minimum of 1,000 homes to be built in and Stone by 2031. Although passed in August, the Plan, which is being challenged by a developer, is not yet ratified.
Stone’s settlement boundaries have therefore not yet been established, but according to Richborough, the Uttoxeter Road development would “round off the existing edge of settlement in Stone.”
Access to the 4.4 hectare site would be via a road slightly below the current farm track leading from Uttoxeter Road, Steve Louth, Richborough Regional Manager told the Gazette. The distribution of the 3-5 bed homes and bungalows would see the single-storey properties at the top end of the sloping site.
40% of the housing would be affordable homes, which would also be distributed throughout the site. A green corridor, possibly including a playground, would run through the middle. All the Grade A and B trees would be preserved. But on the eastern boundary, a tall screen of possibly netting and eventually hedging would be necessary to protect the housing from flying cricket balls.
“It looks very nice on paper but we’re concerned about the increase of traffic on Uttoxeter Road, especially because of the level crossing,” site neighbours Cliff and Anne told the Gazette. “We already have to allow 5-10 minutes extra to get to and from Stone.”
“The crossing barriers will be going down more frequently because of planned rail traffic increases,” Kathryn from Aston Lodge told the Gazette. “It can already be a nightmare getting out of Aston Lodge to Stone or the A51. If the crossing is down, cars leaving the estate turn left, and turn round in the cricket club car park to join the queue. Extra traffic from this proposed estate will only make things worse.”
Cliff had another reason to regret the proposed development.
“I’m a long-standing, though non-playing member of Little Stoke Cricket Club,” he explained. “There’s nothing to beat coming in here for a beer on an afternoon and watching a match. But a housing estate next door would really spoil the view.”
Around 100 people attended the consultation and based on the results, Richborough Estates are intending to submit an outline planning application later this month.