Councillors vote YES to all five applications along Great Fen Road, Soham that officers recommended for refusal
PUBLISHED: 10:23 19 September 2017
Recommendations by planning officers at East Cambs District Council to refuse five applications along a stretch of road in Soham were swept aside yesterday by councillors and all five were approved.
The planning committee was in boisterous mood as it decided to take all five applications separately and to vote on each recommendation once they had heard any representations from owners or agents.
Once the first application was approved the rest fell into line with councillors agreeing a plethora of new homes along Great Fen Road that could set a precedent for many others to come forward with similar applications.
Common to all were ‘cut and paste’ reasons for refusal that included the argument that all five are outside the development area of Soham and all are classified as ‘more vulnerable’ development.
Planning officers argued the sequential test of being ‘more vulnerable’ means there are “reasonably available sites elsewhere within the parish of Soham with a lower probability of flooding”.
By seven votes to one the committee agreed that Daniel Murfitt can build
a two storey house on land between 37 and 38 Great Fen Road and by six votes to two another home north of 26 Great Fen Road.
Officers quoted a recent appeal decision for two homes at 14 The Cotes where a Government inspector ruled against the application because of the site being “unsustainable due to the reliance on the car”.
The argument put forward by officers was that the Great Fen Road sites owned by Mr Murfitt are 3.9 miles from the town centre and putting homes there would not be acceptable in terms of sustainability.
A bid by S J Smith for land north east of 56 Great Fen Road linked similar objections and again officers argued the “benefits would be outweighed by the significant and demonstrable harm which would be caused” by putting the reliance on a car to get into town. It was approved 6-2.
Mr Smith was behind plans for another two storey house – south west of 57 Great Fen Road – which was also recommended for refusal. It, too, was approved 6-2.
Gary Randall wanted to put two homes at Lotsend along the Great Fen Road.
Now he can after it was approved 7-2 against officers’ recommendation.