Dunchurch man applies to build homes in a paddock after his 'Good Life' dream comes to an end

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A Dunchurch developer has been told he can build new homes in a paddock even though neighbours opposed to the scheme say there is a restrictive covenant on the land.

Tom Costello’s plans for the field at Homestead Farm on Coventry Road were approved at this week’s (October 9) planning committee of Rugby Borough Council after councillors were told that any covenants issues needed to be resolved away from the council chamber.

The development would see three houses built in a paddock to the north of the existing farm with a fourth property being constructed elsewhere on the site.

Mr Costello explained to councillors that land he rented from Warwickshire County Council had now been allocated for housing as part of the Sustainable Urban Extension which will see 5,000 homes built in the area.

He added: “Our farm tenancy has been terminated and must be returned to Warwickshire County Council next March and this renders redundant our large agricultural farm, farm tractor and associate stables, pig huts and hen houses. We will also need to find a new home for our horses.

“The Good Life project that we had here is sadly over. The rural idyll enjoyed by us and the wider Homestead community for many years has been rendered unsustainable and it has been replaced by the Sustainable Urban Extension.

“We consider our modest well designed small scheme to be sympathetic to the Homestead land.”

There were objections from Dunchurch Parish Council and from those living in nine neighbouring properties who raised the issue of the covenant and also the ownership of the narrow access road to the site.

But the council’s legal expert Sarah Chapman explained to councillors: “The courts are very clear in that restrictive covenants do not constitute a material consideration in planning matters and as such can’t be taken into account when considering an application.

“To lift a covenant you either have to get the agreement of the person who has the benefit of it or you can apply to the Land Tribunal to get it removed.

“If we issue the planning permission and the restricted covenant has not been lifted then the applicant has two options - he can implement the planning permission in breach of the covenant and face the consequences which are a private law action or he can not implement the planning permission.”

Councillors approved the outline plans by nine votes to one.