Council’s land contradiction
I ATTENDED the meeting held at Brampton Memorial Centre at which Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) planners had been invited to explain to residents why there was a need to consider the Thrapston Road/Huntingdon Road site in the Huntingdon West Area
I ATTENDED the meeting held at Brampton Memorial Centre at which Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) planners had been invited to explain to residents why there was a need to consider the Thrapston Road/Huntingdon Road site in the Huntingdon West Area Action Plan.
I was keen to learn what made this particular site so suitable for development, bearing in mind it is greenfield land, flood plain and on a heavily congested route into Huntingdon.
The HDC planning officer explained the key issues that had to be addressed when looking at the long-term needs of the community, particularly meeting housing and economic requirements.
He neatly skipped the heading that read 'protection' which, I noted, covered the issue of green spaces. He revealed that HDC had not done a detailed flood assessment. Nor was there any plan forthcoming detailing how the increased traffic flow would be managed, a very important issue when you consider this development is scheduled to happen before 2015 (ie before the new A14 is up and running).
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That leaves the question of greenfield land. Government policy and HDC's own interim planning policy statement clearly state the need for our green spaces to be protected. For example: "There should be no harm to spaces which... contribute to the distinctive form and character of a settlement"....or "allow views into or out of a settlement".
Interestingly, we were also told that the land availability assessment showed the village is surrounded by sites put forward for development. So did I learn why this site is top of the list? Yes, I think I did.
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HDC want to attract new business to the area and what better way than to choose a pretty site with fabulous views? Steve Ingram, head of planning services, said it himself (Hunts Post June 20): "It could be a fantastic outlook over the park and the water."
No, HDC, you cannot expect residents of Brampton to give up one of their most picturesque areas of countryside, not to mention valuable flood plain, and you know you shouldn't be asking us to.