Garage plans by Chorus Homes anger local residents

Garage replacement plan

Residents up in arms about plans by Chorus Homes to demolish garage areas and replace them with housing - Credit: Simone Taylor

A group St Neots residents are up in arms against plans by social housing provider Chorus Homes to demolish a series of garages and replace them with new homes.

People living in Duck Lane, Mallard Lane, Naseby Gardens, Brampton Gardens, Henbrook, Sandfields Road and Springbrook areas say they will be left battling to park and that the scheme presents a traffic hazard.

Huntingdon-based Chorus has made 14 planning applications to Huntingdonshire District Council to level 179 garages, most of which are disused, and replace them with 30 social houses.

Chorus, whose predecessor acquired the garages when it took over the district council's housing portfolio in 2000, said the plan would provide "much needed" affordable homes in St Neots and would increase parking.

St Neots Town Council's planning committee has come out against the development.

Eynesbury county councillor Simone Taylor said she had been working closely with residents who opposed the plan and wanted the district council's Development Management Committee to "call in" the applications.

"Residents that will lose their garage may be allocated another, or just given an allocated space, however, the garage will not necessarily be near to their homes but many blocks away in different streets," Cllr Taylor said. 

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She said the scheme would leave a shortfall of spaces: "This will cause major conflicts within the community. What Chorus Homes has failed to understand is that the areas around Duck Lane and the whole of Whitehall Walk are pedestrian only.

"There isn’t anywhere for the residents to park their cars apart from the parking areas which Chorus Homes now own, bear in mind these areas have been used to park cars for 50 years. "

Cllr Taylor said road safety was a "huge concern" for residents.

"Many are very concerned about the displacement of cars, should these applications go ahead - we have all the roads which the planning application are going to affect already full of parked cars. Emergency Services struggle to get through some of them already," she said.

Cllr Taylor said the situation was made worse by parking during the school run.

She urged Chorus Homes to engage with the community, adding: "Let’s not forget, that, yes there will be 30 new social houses built and, yes, we need them. However, should this be at the detrimental cost to the existing community which has been here for 50 years?"

A spokesman for Chorus Homes said: “Chorus Homes has proposed to redevelop areas currently occupied by garages at Mallard Lane, Duck Lane, Springbrook, Henbrook and Brampton Gardens. This will provide much-needed affordable homes in St Neots.

“We have submitted a planning application to Huntingdonshire District Council to demolish the garages and, in their place, build 30 new affordable homes and communal parking areas for residents and their visitors. The new homes, including bungalows and family homes, will be provided on a social rent basis to help meet local needs.

“We are increasing the number of parking spaces that will be made available as part of the development, for residents and visitors to use free of charge.  There will be no loss in parking spaces, and we will be working closely with any of our customers affected to ensure we can support any parking needs.”

Chorus has said that the garages were too small for modern vehicles and that people were less prepared to park away from their properties.