More than 40 new homes are set to be built in Sutton, despite a neighbour’s concerns that it could “destroy” their family life with their severely disabled son.

The family had raised concerns that the plans to build the 41 new homes on land off of Garden Close could “significantly” impact their son’s care environment.

The parents said if the care home they had created for their son failed, he could have to move miles away from them into a potentially “inferior” setting.

A previous application to build 47 homes on the land was refused by East Cambridgeshire District Council last year, after the family raised similar concerns about the impact on their son.

An appeal to try and overturn this decision was lodged by the developer.

Officers told councillors at a planning committee meeting that, in the latest plans, the developer had moved the 2.4metre acoustic fence further away from the family’s home, and had reduced the number of homes proposed to be built.

A representative of the developer, Abbey Homes, also highlighted the changes they had made to the plans.

They said: “The main changes to the scheme that form part of this application is a reduction in the number dwellings, an increase in the number of single storey dwellings, and amendments to the mix of the scheme. The acoustic fence has also been moved further away from the boundary [of the family’s home].”

Laura Woods said while her family appreciated the changes made, she said there were still “vital outstanding problems”.

She said: “We have put immense thought, effort and money into designing and building a bespoke lifetime home to meet the complex needs of our severely disabled son.

“We are the only people who have the expertise to do this, having cared for him day and night for the last 19 years and having given up our careers to do so.

“Oates Lane has given us the freedom to run a care home, employing and managing a team of nine carers.

“Our son has a severe learning disability, he senses the world around him very differently to a typical person and this leads to behaviours that are disturbing to those who do not know and love him. His disability is far too complex to describe succinctly.”

Ms Woods said the adult social care team at Cambridgeshire County Council had also raised concerns that the development represented a “significant risk” to their son’s care setting.

She said if the care home they had created for him collapsed, he might have to be moved miles away into a potentially “inferior” care home.

Ms Woods said: “It is clear to us and social services that this application will have a very significant detrimental impact.

“It will expose our son to harassment and victimisation, and the overbearing nature of the fence will have a very significant impact on his ability to use his therapeutic garden. Either of these could result in his being unable to live in his own home.”

Ms Woods explained that they had proposed a different alignment of the fence to reduce its “overbearing” nature on their garden, but said this had not been considered properly.

Planning officers said the different placing of the fence had been considered, but said the police had raised concerns that the different positioning increased the risk of anti-social behaviour due to the reduced level of surveillance from surrounding homes.

The family’s concerns were supported by Councillor Lorna Dupré, one of the ward councillors for Sutton, who said the development could “make the difference between them remaining together or breaking up”.

The family’s situation was discussed in more detail with committee councillors in a private session of the meeting.

Councillors said they were disappointed a meeting had not taken place between the parents, planning officers and developers to discuss the concerns.

Planning officers said they had previously asked the developer if they would meet the parents but said they had said no. They added that they could not force the developer into attending a meeting.

Councillor John Trapp said: “I am not unhappy with the layout of the site, even though it does not really conform to the neighbourhood plan.

“I am concerned that we have not taken into consideration the needs of the neighbour and I think on that basis I would like to propose we reject these proposals.”

However, Councillor Martin Goodearl said the developer had indicated when questioned that they were willing to make some changes to the acoustic fence.

Councillor Julia Huffer said she believed if a condition could be added to the planning permission asking for changes to the fence, then she was happy to support the proposals.

She added that she believed building a fence in the alignment requested by the family would “spoil the open view towards the church”.

When a decision on the application was put to a vote, the majority of councillors voted to approve the plans.

Ely Standard: Land in Sutton proposed to be developed into new homes.