Mayor warns of a lack of infrastructure if thousands of homes are built near St Neots

Mayor encourages people to shop locally.

St Neots Town Mayor Councillor Stephen Ferguson urges people to support their local high street. - Credit: Archant

Mayor of St Neots Cllr Stephen Ferguson fears a "preposterous" amount of new homes could be built near the town without the necessary infrastructure if a massive development plan for the region is downgraded.

Cllr Ferguson expressed his concerns after South Cambridgeshire MP Anthony Browne was reported as saying that the OxCam Arc was "no longer a Government priority".

The Arc was expected to see up to a million homes built on an enormous swathe of land between Cambridge and Oxford, together with business development.

There are also plans to build a new rail link, including a new railway station, between the two cities which passes close to St Neots and which Cllr Ferguson said was a mechanism for housing growth.

He was particularly concerned about thousands of homes planned close to St Neots but across the border in Bedfordshire which local people would not have a say in but which would impact on services.

Cllr Ferguson said: "Local plans for Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire councils show thousands of new homes close to St Neots.

"There could be 27,000 houses built in the St Neots area and the town could double in size. I would be like having a Biggleswade grafted on to the side of St Neots."

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"I am not saying growth is a bad thing but it needs to have the infrastructure like schools, health and transport services."

Cllr Ferguson said that people living in the houses proposed for Bedfordshire would look to St Neots for services because the town was the nearest centre and the growth was on top of substantial building in the town itself.

Mr Browne said: "I have given a very clear message to the Government that the arc can’t be about concreting over swathes of the countryside with new homes. To be acceptable, it needs to bring clear quality of life benefits to our communities and businesses, as opposed to the bland and meaningless ‘pillars’ that currently hold it up.

"The Government has listened. I am glad the OxCam Arc appears nowhere in the levelling up White Paper, and is no longer a Government priority. Those community groups who fear the consequences of the OxCam Arc on their villages can breathe a little easier."

was reported as saying that he had given a clear message to the Government that the OxCam Arc could not be about concreting over swathes of the countryside with new homes and that he was glad the scheme had not appeared in the White Paper on levelling-up communities and was no longer a priority.