Council takes dim view of proposals to build homes on former forensic laboratory site

Forensic Science Services lab at Huntingdon. Picture: GEOFF SODEN

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

Revised plans to build more than 100 homes on the site of Huntingdon’s former forensic science laboratory site have been met with criticism from councillors.

Persimmon Homes submitted a proposal to build 105 homes on the site to Huntingdonshire District Council in March but following a refusal by the town council in May the company went back to the drawing board.

As a part of the amended plans, that were put forward last month, Persimmon conducted another traffic survey at the junction of Edison Bell Way but the results of this are not yet known.

At a meeting of Huntingdon Town Council’s planning application panel on July 7 councillors chose to turn down the revised plans.

In council minutes following the meeting it stated: “Members felt that the amended plans had not taken into consideration the impact the development would have on traffic issues in the area.

“Members also felt that this would be over development of the site and would have a negative impact on local facilities.”

In the plans Persimmon also stated that it has increased the amount of public open space and will make improvements to the existing footpath network to the local school.

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Simon McDonald, deputy managing director at Persimmon Homes East Midlands, said: “We strongly believe that this site is a sustainable, suitable and deliverable site for development in a thriving town.

“It is currently a vacant, brownfield piece of land that provides no benefit to the community and is a blot on the landscape.

As a part of the proposal Persimmon will cater 40 per cent of its build for affordable housing and it is expected to make a significant contribution to the council’s Community Infrastructure Levy.

“Overall we feel that the scheme provides significant benefits to the local community and will make use of a sustainable, vacant site,” Mr McDonald added.

Following the town council’s decision Cambridgeshire County Council’s highways department have asked for several detailed amendments including changes to parking spaces.

The department has currently objected to the plan until more information is given.

Earlier this year more than 300 residents signed a petition calling for councils to block the plans due to the lack of provision for schooling, community and infrastructure.