May 25 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, February 21, 2013
AN innovative scheme to build new a new housing development owned by the people of Stretham has been unveiled to villagers.
The Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust has targeted several acres of land east of the village, known as Manor Farm, that it hopes can be used to build houses and new community facilities owned and used by the people of the parish.
The trust was set up in 2011 to help tackle the shortage of homes across the two villages and its volunteers have been hard at work for almost a year identifying suitable sites to launch their first scheme.
According to the trust, only 65 homes have been built in Stretham over the last 10 years and a shortage of places to live is driving young people away from the village.
Following six months of negotiations, the trust says it has secured sites on the edge of the village and is keen to get the view of villagers about possible plans for up to 50 new homes and new facilities.
A consultation event was held in St James’s Church in December and feedback will continue to be gathered over the coming weeks, with a planning application earmarked for submission by April.
Councillor Bill Hunt, who represents Stretham and Wilburton at Cambridgeshire County Council and is a member of the trust, said: “I think it is possibly the most exciting thing that has happened in terms of development in the village for a long time.
“The young people of the villages need decent quality homes so that they feel like they have a stake in society and this is what we hope to provide. Many housing associations have become too big and detached from communities whereas the land trust is only concerned with the Stretham and Wilburton.”
Some villagers have expressed concern that the plans are moving ahead very quickly and that the public engagement events were poorly advertised but Councillor Hunt says that the trust is working hard to get things right.
He said: “I can understand the concerns because this is quite a large chunk of land but we are going to have plenty of room on there to have excellent roads, play parks and all the things that benefit the community.”