The Charnwood Borough Council Plans Committee meeting held at the end of July was all about Shepshed and Hathern. Having submitted my objections to the Hathern Rd, Shepshed application opposite the watermill, I went along to listen to the discussion and hear the outcome.
I objected to the application as I had received several emails of concern regarding the application and have also visited and met with residents both of the watermill and other parts of Shepshed and listened to their concerns.
Shepshed has, over the years, become a growing town in terms of population and housing, but with little development in the amenity of the town. In my view, therefore, it is very important to maintain and conserve the historic elements of the town for future generations. The watermill is a site of historical significance and natural beauty. So, I asked that the conservation of this site be considered in this instance. You can read my full objection on my website.
There were three applications in total, which would have an impact on residents. The first, for 56 houses on Zouch Rd, Hathern. Although houses need to be built, they need to be built, I was hoping for more affordable homes on this site, a point that was also mentioned by one of the committee. Another application was for the junction opposite Shepshed watermill, which had attracted considerable attention and concern from residents in Shepshed. The final application was for lighting outside of a business in Shepshed. Unfortunately, the committee went with officer recommendations and the applications were approved.
Only certain people are allowed to speak in a Plans Committee meeting and the watermill application had speakers from all three categories of people who may speak: Mr Neil McHugh as a resident objecting to the application; the representatives of the road developers; and Cllr David Northage, the area’s Borough councillor. Mr McHugh and Cllr Northage both spoke very well, explaining their concerns and highlighting the issues both in terms of the potential development of the junction and the impact on the Shepshed community; heritage and the equine community.
I believe that the key point that was made by both speakers in speaking against the application was that the watermill had been part of the Garendon Estate until 1976. I am grateful that the developers are already undertaking to protect the heritage buildings that are on their site, which were also part of the Garendon Estate. However, while it is thought that this development will not physically harm the building, this junction could potentially harm the setting of the Grade 2 listed building that is the watermill. The committee did, however, add planning conditions that the roads (both the Hathern Link Road and the Industrial Estate Link Road) shall not be opened to public traffic until it has been fully constructed.
Although this is not the outcome that I was hoping for, I will continue to support residents and the Shepshed Watermill in this space.
Jane Hunt MP