ARMED with a petition signed by half the adults in Houghton and Wyton, a village action group will try to persuade councillors to hold fire on a plan to build 400 extra houses in their parish.

ARMED with a petition signed by half the adults in Houghton and Wyton, a village action group will try to persuade councillors to hold fire on a plan to build 400 extra houses in their parish.

This evening (Wednesday) the full Huntingdonshire District Council will debate a request from the riverside villages not to rush into adding 400-500 homes to developments already going on in 'east Houghton' – 'west St Ives', as the council's planners insist.

A petition signed by nearly 750 of the villages' 1,500 electors will be presented by Anthony Garside, who lives in Thicket Road, Houghton.

“We're not anti [the proposal], nor are we pro. We just think the decision should not be taken until all the relevant information is available and has been consulted on,” he told The Hunts Post.

Planning consents have already been granted for around 300 homes at Houghton Road, St Ives, although one permission has lapsed, and some building work has already started on the others.

But the villagers are concerned about further, longer-term plans for the additional houses, plus a country park, on land between the former golf course and the river that came into the parish of Houghton & Wyton in boundary changes last year.

“The groundswell of opinion is very concerned about the impact of the gap between the two villages and St Ives,” Mr Garside said.

As well as asking for more information on the impact on traffic, the villagers' action group, Stop Houghton East Development (Shed), is also concerned about environmental aspects, education provision and the future of Houghton Grange, the Government-owned former poultry research station.

It is also concerned about the constitution and status of a working group, on which Houghton & Wyton Parish Council is represented, which is believed to be examining the plans in detail – and in private – during a public consultation that began last week.

Shed wants the consultation delayed until the public can consider the plan against robust background information, particularly traffic predictions.

“You could end up with a total of 850 new homes and major additions to traffic levels on the A1123, which is already one of the busiest [non-trunk] routes in Cambridgeshire, that are not allowed by the core strategy, as I understand it.

“Driving along there is a nightmare at the moment. The whole thing often grinds to a standstill as it is.”

Mr Garside added: “This document will run until 2026. That's a lot to be set in stone now on the basis of uncertain information. We don't think it's been thought through sufficiently, and it's not up-to-date.”