DEVELOPERS have refused to give up their plans for a new eco-community on the former RAF Upwood site after planning permission was turned down for a second time.

DEVELOPERS have refused to give up their plans for a new eco-community on the former RAF Upwood site after planning permission was turned down for a second time.

The decision was referred to Eric Pickles MP, the minister for Communities and Local Government, who said the plans for at least 650 houses and 10 hectares of employment was not in keeping with Huntingdonshire District Council's long-term development plans.

It is the second time since the plans were first submitted in April 2009 that the Secretary of State has refused permission, but site owners Strawsons Property are considering a legal challenge.

Adrian Sail, senior development surveyor, said: "We will develop the site, but it's just a case of deciding whether we challenge this in the High Court or withdraw and reconsider some other form of application."

The original application was to develop 55 hectares of the former airfield with the aim of building a sustainable community where people would work and live, with a neighbourhood centre, affordable housing, landscaped open space and improved transport infrastructure.

Mr Sail said that changing the plans to a scale acceptable to HDC - believed to be around 100 homes - would not be enough to support the associated infrastructure.

A letter on behalf of Mr Pickles to the developers says "overall, the proposed development is not in accordance with the development plan" because it would result in higher levels of development for housing and employment than proposed by Huntingdonshire District Council's core strategy, and would have clashed with the strategy's transport policies.

Benefits to the area - such as the provision of affordable housing, remediation of a derelict site and improved bus services - did not outweigh the conflict with the development plan, the letter added.

A public inquiry, opened after HDC failed to approve or reject the first application, was held last year and concluded in August 2010 that permission should be refused. That was then quashed in the High Court in December after the regional spatial strategies, on which the decision had been based, were scrapped by the Coalition Government.

- What do you think? Would you like to see the redevelopment plans for RAF Upwood given the go-ahead? E-mail editor@huntspost.co.uk