MORE than 500 new homes, shops, business units and allotments all feature prominently in plans for Soham’s new Eastern Gateway development.

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About 72 acres of land to the east of Soham’s existing town centre have been earmarked for development and plans to transform the area were revealed to councillors for the first time last week.

Put together by Peterborough based LDA Design, which is also working on the Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympics in London, the Eastern Gateway is designed to attract new employment opportunities to the town as well as helping to boost the existing town centre.

Cllr Peter Moakes, said: “The Soham Masterplan Vision helped to set the scene and direction for future growth in the town – the next stage is to work on the detail of the plan to build on the enthusiasm which we have seen and heard from residents. “The Eastern Gateway is a key part of this work – by opening up a new access we can help unlock the potential of Soham, breathing new life into the centre.”

According to the plans there will be two main entrances to the development, one access route from Pratt Street to the west and another from the bypass to the east.

If all goes according to plan the new development could begin as early as 2013, though LDA Design say it is likely that the bulk of work will take place after 2016.

The production of the Eastern Gateway itself has involved more than five months of work and featured consultation with landowners, residents and the Homes and Community Agency (HCA).

According to East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) The Eastern Gateway has been designed to support Soham’s over-arching Masterplan and should allow for the expansion of the town’s health centre as well as other improvements to community facilities.

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