PLANS for 55 new homes in Shipston - which include two new sports pitches - have been approved by planners.

Stratford District Council's planning committee (East) approved the outline application to build 19 affordable houses and 36 open market dwellings on land off London Road at a meeting last Wednesday.

Six members voted in favour of the plans by Orbit Homes with three against despite objections from the town council, ward members and 109 letters of objection and19 in support.

Councillor Richard Cheney, Shipston ward member, who objected to the plans on the grounds the area is designated as an ‘Area of Restraint’ in the emerging Core Strategy and the effect of the development on the landscape said he was disappointed.

"Planning Committees are under great pressure to approve applications such as this one by Orbit Homes due to the Stratford District Council severely delaying the adoption of a local plan," he said.

"The Conservative councillors running the council really have got a lot to answer for when development is being allowed in areas which would probably be rejected if local planning policy was established in the form of the Core Strategy.

"It seems that we shall have to wait until at least April 2015 before this is likely”.

But fellow ward member Councillor Jeff Kenner said he was pleased the plans were approved because of the community benefits.

Among the legal agreements included with the application is a commitment to provide a minimum of two additional sports pitches at the neighbouring Shipston Sports Club to be used by Shipston Excelsior Football Club.

"Orbit did a lot of consultation and they did reduce the houses," he said. "The good thing was the sports club has managed to get this extra benefit. I'm very pleased about that.

"Through Orbit we will get affordable housing, there are 77 households who need affordable housing. There's a massive shortage of suitable open space and sports facilities in Shipston."