ARSON-HIT HISTORIC LODGE AND GROUNDS SET FOR HOUSING

Plans have been approved to convert a historic building and construct more than 100 houses on surrounding grounds.

The 18th Century Queniborough Lodge, in Melton Road, Leicestershire, has been the target of vandals and was hit by an arson attack earlier this year.

Bloor Homes has been given the go-ahead to redevelop the lodge and a number of outbuildings, while 15 homes will be built on the lodge grounds.

Charnwood Borough Council has also approved plans for a further 104 new homes on land of the former Shield Engineering works - which is adjacent to the lodge.

The new development will include play areas with equipment for children, allotments and community green space, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Neil Cox, who spoke on behalf of the developers, said: "In addition, a nature sanctuary will feature new grassland, and pond creation and an area of land left to naturally rewild."

At the authority's planning committee on Thursday, councillors welcomed the opportunity to safeguard the site from further vandalism.

'Critical mass'

However, councillor Sandra Woodward, who objected to the application, said Queniborough had had 200 homes built in recent years, with a further 325 in the planning system.

She claimed the total number of new homes would increase the size of the village by 50% and raised residents' fears over traffic issues.

"There are safety concerns now and the cumulative impact on Melton Road traffic is extensive," she said.

"Residents say they can be in a standstill for up to 30 minutes at peak times. I share their concerns around traffic being at a critical mass along the Melton Road."

In response, Lewis Marshall, of the council's planning team, said: "This site doesn't meet the threshold for consulting National Highways.

"There was an existing use on this site, so it's only a minor intensification."

Councillor Hilary Fryer, who welcomed the plans, said: "It has been subject to anti-social behaviour and something has got to be done with the site."

Councillor David Snartt added: "It's sad to see all the vandalism that's taken place there, and in my view good to see something coming forward to get this sorted out."

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