East Cambs Council agrees 12 month extension to its own scheme for 500 homes at Kennett to give time for crucial legal documents to be signed off
PUBLISHED: 18:52 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 18:52 02 January 2020
© Terry Harris
East Cambs Council has admitted it is having problems signing off a multi million pound section 106 (community benefit) agreement over its controversial scheme for 500 homes on a 100 acre site at Kennett.
When the application - by its own East Cambs Trading company - secured permission last April it was expected that the 106 agreement would follow shortly. But planning manager Rebecca Saunt has agreed a 12 month extension to December 31, 2020 to enable the complex documents to be finalised.
Initially the council had set a target date of September 26 2018 for the application to be agreed but this was pushed back to April 2019.
Now Ms Saunt has written to agents Strutt & Parker explaining that whilst "every endeavour has been made to reach a decision within the statutory time, unfortunately this will not be possible".
She added: "I am writing to ask you to formally agree to extend the period for deciding your application until December 31, 2020."
Included in the 106 agreement is 30 per cent affordable housing and public open spaces including allotments, play facilities and landscaping.
The council also wants cash towards the upkeep of these areas.
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Also needing agreement is the provision of a primary school, community facilities, highway improvements including a pedestrian crossing and traffic calming measures and upgrades to the junction by the Bell Inn.
Councillors were told that a draft 106 agreement had been agreed and that the council had employed a consultant to "advise on the viability of the development" and that payments were "reasonable and ensure viability".
Sums being spoken of were listed prior to councillors approving the application.
They total some £5.5m and include £2.757m for schools (mainly Soham Village College where children will attend once their families move in to Kennett) and £860,000 for a village green.
The B1056 crossroads improvements are expected to cost £220,000 whilst £44,000 is allocated for library provision.
Kennett Action Group - who opposed the application- has raised a fifth of the £5,000 they say they need to seek a judicial review of the decision.
"We believe it is important to stand up and fight for justice and protection of countryside," says the group. We have enough evidence to mount a successful legal challenge. We need your help."