Godmanchester councillor wrong on Bearscroft Farm

I WOULD like to address a few key points and respond to some inaccuracies made by your correspondent Mr Coxhead in his letter of July 4 (‘Short notice a tactic?’).

First, the leaflets to which Mr Coxhead refers were prepared by Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) in order to advertise the consultation on its draft urban design framework. For the sake of clarity, this process is being undertaken solely by HDC and is separate from the consideration of the planning application prepared and submitted by the Fairfield Partnership.

Secondly, he states that the scheme (we assume he means our application for 753 new homes) would increase Godmanchester’s population by 50 per cent. As I understand it, the town has around 6,100 people living in approximately 3,500 properties, so the impact of our proposals for Bearscroft will be significantly less than 50 per cent.

It should also be noted that the scale of development being progressed is a council proposal, provision for which is contained in the adopted core strategy for the district, and which has been extensively consulted upon. Our planning application responds to this document.

Thirdly, Mr Coxhead suggests that we are not providing any affordable housing for younger people living in the area – this is wholly incorrect.

Our planning application proposes that up to 40 per cent of the new homes, in other words up to 301 homes, would be affordable, with a mixture of one-bed through to six-bed properties, catering for young couples just starting out on the housing ladder through to families looking for a larger home to reflect changed family circumstances.

Our plans respond to the identified affordable housing need in the district, as confirmed by HDC’s housing and enabling officer, and this need will only be met if developments such as ours come forward.

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In response to Mr Coxhead’s concerns over our scheme’s impact on transport infrastructure, there is limited information on this topic in the council’s consultation document.

I would, however, highlight that, during the preparation of our planning application, we consulted with the Highways Agency and the county highways department, both of which agree that the package of measures we are proposing, including new bus services to supplement existing services and ramp metering at the A1198/A14 junction, will satisfactorily mitigate the impacts of our development on the local road network (A14 and A1198 included).

Mr Coxhead may wish to view our transport assessment that accompanies our application and which can be viewed on the district council’s website.

I would also like to respond to the article published in the same edition (“Have say on site’s future”) which states that plans for Bearscroft could be jeopardised by the options for the A14 being looked at by Government.

This is untrue as the current A14 options do not involve this stretch of the A1198, therefore they will not affect our plans.

Finally, it is worth reiterating that land at Bearscroft accords with a direction for growth that is identified within the council’s adopted core strategy as land suitable for a residential-led, mixed-use development to meet the District’s future housing needs. We note the repeated references to development possibly coming forward at Alconbury to help meet the district’s future housing needs, however that is not yet a formal council proposal, and we have been advised that any development that eventually comes forward there will be additional to development at Bearscroft, not in place of it.


The Fairfield Partnership


Editor’s note: Mr Biart is mistaken in his belief that adoption of the A1198 option included in the recent Atkins report for the Highways Agency on improving the A14 would not affect the Bearscroft Farm area. Although there is no indicative alignment at this stage, were this to be the chosen option, it is almost certain that drivers could choose to travel either north or south on the A1198 – formerly designated A14, of course – to continue their journeys.