SEVEN new homes have been backed by councillors for the garden of a listed Georgian house in St Cross, despite opposition from residents.

The city council’s planning committee approved proposals by Alfred Homes for the development at Goodworth House on St Cross Road.

Concerns were previously raised about causing harm to the heritage of the site and issues with road safety.

A report from the applicant’s heritage advisor said that there was less than substantial harm to the conservation area, whereas the city council’s officer reported that there would be no harm. There were 20 objections to the proposal.

Neighbour Richard Harwood told the meeting: “This is overdevelopment that harms the area. It’s the destruction of a historic garden which adds to the significance of Goodworth House.

“Public visibility, as members will know, is not needed for heritage harm due to character, but openness of the site is already appreciated from the outside and the cul-de-sac development will be visible from all directions.”

He added: “This is classic harmful backland development with house one set well behind the building line which has an overbearing effect.”

He also raised issues that one of the properties will look directly into his home.

Another resident Ann Jones urged councillors to reject the plan as it “fails in respect of the ethos of the conservation area”.

But applicant Chris Rees said the developer has spent a significant amount of time accommodating the concerns raised by neighbours. He added: “Unfortunately it is not always possible to appease everyone, particularly where there are opposing views in the community itself.

“The proposal will make a positive contribution to the conservation area as well as providing a range of housing in sizes in a highly sustainable part of the city.”

Councillors were told that part of the land will be donated to St Faith’s CofE Primary School, along with opening of a public footpath across the site.

Cllr Angela Clear said: “I feel the developer has taken onboard comments that he has received and has accommodated wishes of the community. I think this development delivers a wide choice of housing, a range of dwelling types and the introduction of parking facilities hopefully will stop or at least reduce the lorries riding on the pavements.

“It’s pleasing that no works are actually proposed to Goodworth House or its outbuildings.”

Committee vice-chair Cllr Jane Rutter said: “This is a very controversial application as are all applications in this sort of sensitive site must be, I think on balance the developer has done a lot of work to provide some community benefits in terms of the contribution to the school and also to parking on Cripstead Lane.

“It’s never easy to accept development in a sensitive site like this but I think it was inevitable that something will be built here.”

But Cllr David McLean opposed the scheme, saying: “We’ve got a lovely plot of green land that we are now going to put housing on top of in the centre of the city, it’s the removal of basically green land and I find that difficult to come to terms within the city.”

The plan was approved by five votes to one with one abstention.

Councillors also voted in favour of the alteration and demolition of existing boundary walls, along with the erection of new walls surrounding the Goodworth House site.