Plans for hydro system and residential care home in St Neots set to be approved despite local opposition

St Neots

St Neots - Credit: Archant

Plans for a micro hydro system and a residential care facility in St Neots are likely to be approved next week, despite some local opposition.

Huntingdonshire District Council’s Development Management Panel will consider the plans on Monday, November 16, but officers have recommended approval for the hydro scheme at the Rivermill Tavern in School Lane, Eaton Socon, and the residential care accommodation at Corunna Close in Eaton Ford.

St Neots town councillors refused permission for the hydro system, which uses an Archimedean screw to generate electricity, as they had concerns about the “adverse impact on the conservation area” and noise levels.

Applicant Doug Barns, who lives at Mill House in School Lane, told planners: “We plan to create a high quality commercial riverside operation which our early calculations show will have a near zero carbon footprint. It will be a showcase for what can be achieved using modern technology in an environmentally sensitive way.”

The planning officer has recommended approval, subject to the imposition of several conditions, including recommendations contained in a Noise Assessment.

The care facility is a change-of-use application for a bungalow in Corunna Close, which the applicant, Dominik Szablowski, plans to use to support vulnerable adults with Prader-Willi Syndrome. The condition is a rare congenital disorder characterised by learning difficulties, growth abnormalities, and obsessive eating.

St Neots Town Council refused permission for the facility on the grounds that it was an “inappropriate use of the property” and voiced concerns about “parking and access” but this has also been recommended for approval by the district council’s planning officer.

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Bob Catchpole, one of the residents of Corunna Close, told The Hunts Post that the application would “seriously impact the way of living” for people living along the road.

“The people living here are all aged between 65 and 90 and some of them are distraught about this. The main issue is parking. There will be four carers on each shift who are likely to bring vehicles, and we need to ensure there is adequate access for the emergency services and people living here who have mobility issues. We are not against the facility, but this is an inappropriate location.”

The Huntingdonshire Local Plan supports the provision of specialised housing which is integrated rather than isolated from existing communities. It is understood that at present there is no specialist provision within Cambridgeshire for individuals affected by Prader-Willi Syndrome.