Another rural view of the village that could vanish forever?
One major housebuilder is currently adding the finishing touches to an estate of 40 new dwellings in King’s Sutton and looks forward to starting 14 more soon. Another is about to begin work on 35 additional houses on a different greenfield site in the village. Both developments were vigorously opposed by the parish council and the local planning authority, as well as by the majority of King’s Sutton’s residents. However, both were allowed on appeal by the Westminster government.
Now, King’s Sutton is bracing itself for yet another unwelcome threat to its rural character, this time from Cheshire-based Gladman Developments. Gladman envisages “around 100 units” on seven acres of land behind Glebe Rise and Holland Rise. The company boasts on its website that it obtains “residential planning consents on edge of town greenfield sites” and uses its “expertise and financial resources to proactively promote the sites and secure planning permission”. Many of King’s Sutton’s residents are today left wondering just how many green fields will be left around the village once all these developers have made their money and moved on.
Some of the land in Gladman’s sights is owned by the Church of England. According to a Church Commissioners document outlining the proposed sale of its land to Gladman, King’s Sutton Parochial Church Council (KSPCC), the executive body of the parish church of SS Peter and Paul, has advised against the sale because any further development in the village is unsustainable. KSPCC also believes that the sale could be “detrimental to the mission of the Church of England on a local level as the village as a whole is opposed to further development and the Church will be seen to be aiding development by selling this land”.
These objections cut no ice with the Diocesan Board of Finance, however, which says it needs the money and maintains that the sale of the land to Gladman Developments “would not have a negative impact on the Church’s mission”. In fact, as the document makes clear, the Church of England’s mission in this case is to take advantage of what it has identified as the local planning authority’s main weakness. It baldly states that the attraction to Gladman of the proposed site is that “South Northamptonshire District Council is vulnerable when it comes to the delivery of a 5 year land supply which is required by central government”. This is precisely the reason why previous applications for big housing developments in King’s Sutton have been waved through by the Planning Inspectorate despite almost unanimous local opposition.
Click here to see the full details of the proposed Church of England land sale. (A map showing the area of “initial development” can be found on page 7.)