Village angered by 400-home ribbon development

THERE was standing room only at a recent meeting in Houghton and Wyton when the residents felt completely railroaded after hearing about a proposal to build 400-500 houses within the village boundary.

The scheme was presented by Steve Ingram and Mike Huntington from HDC’s planning department and is called St Ives West but the bulk of it is actually in Houghton.

Residents were shell-shocked and bitterly disappointed with a planning system that has failed to listen to local people’s views as expressed in the Parish Plan, which was completely dismissed by the officers.

The result could be a near-continuous ribbon development joining the village up with St Ives. Villagers chose to live in a village location and feel this choice is being taken away from them.

Concerns were expressed about the A1123, and questions were asked about the capacity of the road. Other infrastructure issues were raised, such as the schools and where all these people would work.

Although this is called a planning strategy, people felt it was very disjointed and there doesn’t appear to have been much communication between the various agencies and departments.

Heather Merryweather, chairman of the Houghton and Wyton parish planning committee commented: “Some residents feel so let down they have been driven to action by the placing of signs on the A1123.”

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The new coalition Government, through the localism bill, is encouraging local people to get involved with local plans and has given an opportunity for all local authorities to review their core strategies, which HDC is encouraged to do in light of the A14 re-routing not happening, changed town and village boundaries and the ongoing delay of the guided bus, where people will have to use their car to reach a bus stop.

Houghton and Wyton residents feel so strongly about this issue that an action group is being formed and will fight the proposals all the way.

HELEN BOOTHMAN

Thicket Road

Houghton

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