Homes plan for former Government research facility in Houghton

The entrance to Houghton Grange. Picture: GOOGLE

The entrance to Houghton Grange. Picture: GOOGLE - Credit: Archant

Nearly 100 new homes could be built on the site of a disused and run down former scientific research centre at Houghton if plans win approval.

The listed Houghton Grange would also be converted into five flats in the scheme by Morris Homes, which already has outline planning permission.

Plans for the scheme have just been submitted to Huntingdonshire District Council.

The redevelopment of the site, at the top of Houghton Hill, has proved controversial because people living in Houghton and Wyton are worried that the scale of building in the area will lead to the joining of their community with nearby St Ives.

Members of Houghton and Wyton Parish Council will discuss the plans at its next meeting today (Wednesday).

Much of the land on the adjacent former golf course has already been built on, as has land on the opposite side of Houghton Road.

The site has been disused for nearly 30 years since the closure of the Government-owned Houghton Poultry Research Station and the buildings have become increasingly run down and vandalised. Since the site was shut down there have been a range of options for its re-use, including a business park and housing.

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The current scheme involves the construction of 98 new homes, the demolition and replacement of Dormy House - a building considered to be beyond economical repair - conversion of the Elizabethan Revival Grange, dating back to 1897 and built for the Coote family, into flats and the refurbishment of the listed East and West Lodges which flank the entrance to the site.

Demolition of modern wings would also take place, together with the construction of roads, sewers, and landscaping.

A report to council planners by the developers said Houghton Grange was on the council's buildings at risk register: "A lack of maintenance and vandalism has resulted in it now being in a very poor condition, which is having a negative effect on its significance and repair work is urgently needed to ensure the retention of its special interest."

It said the redevelopment would enhance the significance of the listed buildings and the surrounding conservation area.

The report said: "The new development does not encroach on the listed lodges and will enhance their setting with gravel driveways and new planting. Importantly, their historic relationship with the road and the main driveway to the grange will not be affected."