Council moves to close planning loophole which left district at risk of unsustainable development


ECDC - Credit: Archant

A loophole that left green spaces across East Cambridgeshire at the mercy of speculative housing developers has been closed by a government inspector.

East Cambridgeshire District Council announced on Tuesday that, after months of painstaking work, its local plan had been approved.

The decision comes less than a year after the first draft of the local plan was rejected.

An inspector said the council failed to allow for enough homes in the district over the next five years. The decision left the district exposed to planning applications for large developments on greenbelt land.

Councillor Kevin Ellis, chairman of the council’s finance committee, said: “It is a fantastic achievement to have the local plan for East Cambridgeshire passed by a planning inspector.

“He has made a few proposed modifications to the plan – the vast majority of which we agreed with him during the thorough examination process.

“The document, subject to full council approval, will become the main basis for making decisions on planning applications covering the next 20 years.”

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The first test of the new plan will come in just five days time when the council will go head-to-head with housing developer Gladman over plans to build 128 homes on a ‘green lung’ in Witchford. Gladman’s planning application was refused by councillors last year.

The local plan seeks to ensure development in the district is ‘sustainable’ by looking at how much, where and when development should take place.