Housing developer returns with fresh bid for laboratory site amid objections from residents

The former Forensic Science Services lab at Huntingdon. Picture: GEOFF SODEN

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

A new bid to build more than 100 houses on the site of the former forensic science laboratory in Huntingdon is set to get the go-ahead.

Planners at Huntingdonshire District Council are recommending that 103 homes should be approved for the land at Hinchingbrooke Park, saying that the extra houses would not have a “significant” impact on traffic in the area.

In February planners also recommended the scheme, put forward by Persimmon Homes (East Midlands), for approval but it was rejected by councillors because of its impact on the residential area, especially on traffic, which they considered would be “severe”.

Persimmon Homes has appealed against that decision and has submitted a new planning application which will be considered by the district council’s development management panel tonight (Monday).

Huntingdon Town Council has come out against the scheme – saying earlier concerns had not been taken into account.

People living near the laboratory, which finally closed in 2012, have objected to the new plan, with some saying it can already take up to an hour to leave the estate because of existing problems at peak times.

But in a report to councillors, planners pointed out that the forensic science laboratory had up to 400 employees and about 230 parking spaces and established traffic movements must be taken in to account in the new plan.

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They said the site would provide 41 “affordable” homes, 12.5 per cent of the council’s annual supply target and that the council had missed its targets for affordable housing in the past which the development would address.

Planners said alterations to the local road network, linked to improvements to the A14, would help traffic flows and they accepted the conclusions of a traffic assessment which said extra traffic generated by the development would have a “minimal impact”.

Their report said: “Whilst there are acknowledged existing junction problems and congestion within the area related to the Hinchingbrooke Park Road junctions and while the development will add vehicles to the existing situation, there are no significant detrimental or severe highways impacts caused through the proposed development to warrant a refusal of the scheme on these grounds.”