Parish council hits out after plans for new homes are approved by committee

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House - Credit: Archant

Holywell-cum-Needingworth Parish Council has criticised a decision by Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) to approve plans for 120 houses in the village.

The application, which was proposed by Gladman Developments, sought outline planning permission for the houses in a field off Bluntisham Road.

The proposal also includes a cycle path, links to St Ives, and a proposed community wildflower and grass area to increase biodiversity.

The application was approved by HDC’s development management committee on May 29 but has been criticised by the parish council for not considering infrastructure and ignoring village concerns around traffic.

In a statement, Holywell-cum-Needingworth Parish Council said: “Following the public open meeting held by the parish council in September and the overwhelming opinion of our residents who attended, the parish council strongly objected to the application.

“The parish council feels that the erection of 120 homes will put pressure on schools places, traffic and the A1123. Our case was based upon the lack of village infrastructure including limited school places, development outside of the village envelope, speed limit and the increasing pressure on the road network with particular reference to the proximity of the development to the junction with the A1123.

“The parish council felt that there would be a strong probability of significant increased traffic adding to the problems already being experienced at the Morrison’s roundabout and Harrison Way, where the effects of other development already in the pipeline still has to be experienced.”

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The parish council went on to say: “Whilst the district council seemed to consider all of the parish councils reasoning sound, the application was still passed by one vote.

“The reasons given by those voting in favour related to the lack of supporting evidence from their planning department, Cambridgeshire County Council highways and the local education authority with regards to infrastructure matters, plus the assumption that the application would almost certainly be passed should the applicant go to appeal.”

Now that outline approval has been given the parish council says it cannot appeal the decision.

A spokesman for Huntingdonshire District Council pointed to a 62-page report which accompanied the planning application, which it said pointed to the plans delivering a supply of affordable housing that meets current and future needs in the area.

The spokesman said: “The development management committee, after very careful consideration of the proposal, resolved to approve the application.

“The conclusion reached in the report to the committee was that: ‘Having fully assessed all three dimensions of sustainable development; economic, social and environmental within this report it is concluded that the development of this site will: provide a supply of affordable and market housing to meet the needs of current and future generations, promote healthy, active lifestyle through green space provision, maximise opportunities for use of public transport, walking and cycling, minimise pollution, manage flood risk and drainage effectively, have less than substantial harm on archaeological interest which is outweighed by the community benefits, particularly the provision of affordable housing, have no significant adverse impacts on features of landscape or ecological value, provide appropriate infrastructure to meet the needs generated by the development’.

“The county council as education authority confirmed that there was no need to expand local primary or secondary school capacity in the short to medium term as a result of this development, and the county council as highway authority raised no objections to the application.”