A large housing development in the south of Soham is one step closer to going ahead, after getting the green light during a planning meeting of East Cambridgeshire District Council this afternoon.
Developers Hopkins Homes Limited were granted approval to build 126 houses on farmland to the west of the Cherry Tree Pub on Cherrytree Lane.
The controversial application was strongly opposed by Soham Town councillor Geoffrey Woollard, who questioned the pace and extent of development in the town.
“Why can’t it be just 63 houses instead of 126? Why so fast and to such an extraordinary extent?”
He added that over 4000 new houses were being considered for Soham.
“I have opted for proportionate development… which means 400 to 600 more houses for Soham – not 4000.”
Mr Woollard warned of “a disconnect between what the people of Soham are thinking and what the people of this council are doing”, adding that it could eventually lead to “the downfall” of elected members.
Of the 126 dwellings, six will be self build plots and 38 will be affordable housing.
A new road with pedestrian access into the site is proposed from Fordham Road to the east, linking northwards into the town centre and south and eastwards to the Regal Lane employment area. A new pedestrian and emergency vehicle access route is planned from the development onto Cherrytree Lane in the south.
The lead local flood authority had objected to the original submission, requesting further details. This has now been provided, and the authority have advised that they are satisfied with the drainage scheme proposed subject to conditions relating to foul and surface water drainage.
As some of the 12 acre site is on private property, East Cambridgeshire District Council will not enter some areas to collect waste or recycling. This will affect about a quarter of the households, with owners or residents responsible for taking bins and sacks to the public highway boundary on the relevant collection day.
During the consultation phase, concerns were expressed by Cambridgeshire Archaeology, as the remains of a Saxon cemetery have been located nearby.
“These important archaeological remains would be severely damaged or destroyed by the proposed development. We would not object to the proposed development, but would recommend that the site should be subject to a programme of archaeological investigation and recommend that this work should be commissioned and undertaken at the expense of the developer.”
Six responses were received from 134 neighbouring properties consulted by the council, prior to today’s meeting. People expressed concerns about how the new houses would impact on the lack of existing school places, the burden on doctors’ surgeries, traffic on Fordham Road and Cherrytree Lane, and local drainage and sewage.
However, one applicant said that affordable houses were needed for the people of Soham.
For more information about the application click here.
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