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Council officers said the allocations were needed to help the council meet its requirement to provide a five-year land supply for new housing, but upset members by insisting the development be linked to the provision of a new bus lane in Sutton Road, with each developer required to pay £3,000 per house towards the cost.
The Mayor, Cllr Clive English (Lib Dem), said: “Are we living in some bizarre alternative reality? We drive a stake through the heart of this proposal and like some strange undead creature it rises again and staggers onward.
“The public and county and borough councillors have said time and again, we don’t want this bus lane.”
Cllr Tony Harwood (Lib Dem) said widening the Sutton Road would “sever the community” and cut children off from their schools.
Planning officer Chris Hawkins said that without the bus lane, Sutton Road would be stretched beyond its capacity and the whole feasibility of the developments would have to be revisited.
But Cllr Harwood said it should be simple to “de-couple” the developers 106 payments from the bus lane proposal. He said: “All that’s needed is a change in the wording so that the money can be used towards other forms of traffic mitigation which can then be investigated.”
Councillors were also angry that officers were prepared to accept that the developers only provide 30% affordable housing, when council policy is for 40%.
Cllr Harwood said: “Just down the road at Sutton Woods we insisted on 40% at the height of the depression. Why suddenly should developers be saying their schemes are only viable with 30% affordable housing when house prices are actually rising?”
Councillors voted to defer all three applications for investigation of alternative traffic mitigation measures and a re-examination of the affordable housing provision.
The three applications were for 180 units from Bellway Homes on land north of Sutton Road, 600 units from Taylor Wimpey at Langley Park, and 100 units from Redrow Homes on land west of Bicknor Farm.
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