Councillors raise fears over infrastructure as plans for new homes are deferred

The Priory Centre, St Neots,

The Priory Centre, St Neots, - Credit: Archant

St Neots town councillors voted to defer a decision on whether 79 new homes should be built on land off Potton Road in Eynesbury on Thursday night after a heated debate in the council chamber.

The proposal, for a mix of flats and two, three and four-bedroom homes on a triangle of land, that measures 3.7 hectares, between the railway line and the A428, includes 1.95 hectares of open space, and comes on top of existing plans for 2,800 homes at Wintringham Park and 1,200 for the second phase of Love’s Farm.

Councillors agreed to defer their decision, calling for more information after some angry responses to yet more homes for the town and raised concerns about the lack of existing infrastructure.

Impact on the A428 and “setting a precedent” as the plan has not been included in the Local Plan or the Neighbourhood Plan, were also objections.

Chairman of the council, James Corley, who is also an Eynesbury ward councillor, said he wanted more information about the “impact on traffic”, adding: “It will bring more houses, but no other benefits to the town.”

Cllr Keith Prentice, chairman of the town council’s planning committee, also called for more information.

“We need a traffic impact study. We have insufficient information in order to approve or refuse this application,” he said.

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Eaton Socon councillor Roger Harrison said the council “had nowhere near enough information to proceed” and cited the lack of infrastructure as an issue for the community.

In May, The Hunts Post reported that in a response to the draft Local Plan, written by Cllr Harrison, councillors outlined concerns about the level of new homes planned and a “lack of proposed infrastructure”.

Derek Giles told the meeting that another 79 homes was “just the tip of the iceberg”.

“We need to look at the impact on the community and what happens when the next 79 come up. This plan is not part of the Local Plan and if we give it our support we will set a precedent when it comes to other developments,” he said.

However, Eynesbury councillors, Diana Collins and Simone Taylor had some reservations about the plan, but also saw the development as an opportunity to provide allotments, a burial centre or a much-needed community centre for the area.

A representative from Strutt and Parker, acting on behalf of the land owner, said the development land, which is currently being used for arable farming, would address the acute need for housing in the district and said the company had been in “early discussions” with a number of house builders.