Key decisions due for the future of Huntingdonshire

TWO key decisions for Huntingdonshire are due to be made next month – one would be a big step forward for a major development in the district, while the other could potentially prevent further building.

The Bearscroft Farm urban design framework is scheduled to be adopted as council policy at a meeting of Huntingdonshire District Council’s cabinet on September 13.

The purpose of the framework is to describe the main design factors and requirements that prospective developers must address when planning the controversial “extension” to Godmanchester. It will be used by councillors when determining planning applications on the area.

A public consultation on the plans ended in July and attracted more than 70 comments – the vast majority objecting to the proposed new development. Just two comments supported Bearscroft Farm, while eight respondents listed their comment as “other”.

Bearscroft Farm could ultimately provide 700 new homes, a new primary school and community facilities.

Meanwhile, at the same meeting, the cabinet should approve a new boundary for the conservation area in Houghton and Wyton. The new boundary would include five new areas of the parishes – including 1-3 Orchard Cottages, Ware Lane, the Grade II listed Houghton Hall and Ladymere Cottage, as well as Brambly Hedge, Chaddesley and Glenburn.

A conservation area is “an area of special architectural or historic interest” and boundaries are set to preserve or enhance those areas. They are normally centred on listed buildings, groups of buildings, open spaces or a historic street pattern. As such, gaining planning permission to build new properties or develop the area is difficult.

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CPRE Cambridgeshire, the local branch of the national Campaign to Protect Rural England, supports the boundary review – but does not think it goes far enough.

Its response to the consultation, which is open for public involvement until August 31, said: “We support the proposed boundary but would call for the inclusion of the two lakes… which form a key setting for the villages.”

A local resident also agrees with review, commenting: “It will assist in protecting buildings of local interest.”