Campaigners call on councils to block move for dozens of new homes on former laboratory site

Forensic Science Services lab at Huntingdon. Picture: GEOFF SODEN

Forensic Science Services lab at Huntingdon. Picture: GEOFF SODEN - Credit: Archant

More than 300 people have signed a petition for local authorities to reject a proposal to build houses on the former government forensic science laboratory.

Planning permission has been sought for 105 homes to be built on the site at Hinchingbrooke by developers Persimmon Homes following the closure of the laboratory four years ago after cuts to the Forensic Science Service.

The petition, on, has been supported by residents, who are calling for provision for schooling, community and infrastructure to be included within the plan.

Ben Fuller, 33, who started the petition, told The Hunts Post: “The number of houses on the site is the concern, in the district council’s local plan the site was allocated for 55 houses, this has now almost doubled and there is not enough community aspects to the site just loads of houses.

“We are looking for the plan to be managed with common sense and not just adding more house to an area that can’t cope already.”

Currently the only additional infrastructure planned for the site is a multi-use games area, which according to Mr Fuller “does not go far enough”.

Those who have signed the petition have raised fears that if the development is given the go ahead it will have a substantial affect on Cromwell Academy Primary School and surrounding schools.

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Mr Fuller said: “Cromwell Academy is currently full to capacity. This year the school received over 58 applications, with 30 available places. I’m concerned that I might not be able to get my child into the school in years to come.”

The petition also claims that a traffic survey carried out by Cambridgeshire County Council was not done at peak time which didn’t show the nature of the congestion around Hinchingbrooke, the B1514 and that of the site’s only entrance at Christie Drive.

Mr Fuller said: “During rush hour times it can often take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to get out of Hinchingbrooke and along the hospital road.”

The results of the traffic survey shown in the planning documents reported that there was only ‘light traffic’ in the area around Christie Drive.

The petition will be delivered to Huntingdonshire District Council, Huntingdon Town Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

It expected that the final decision on the future of the site will be made by the district council in May.

At a meeting of the town council’s planning applications panel last Thursday (April 14) members recommended the refusal of the plan stating that is was an over-development on the site with concerns about school places, parking issues and insufficient road networks.