Council planners refuse developers’ housing bid

East Cambridgeshire District Council.

East Cambridgeshire District Council. - Credit: Archant

Planning officials have refused an application to demolish a former joinery in Soham to make way for a development of houses.

Tim and Paul Hedger applied to East Cambridgeshire District Council back in March for permission to demolish a host of outbuildings on the former Soham Joinery site, in Mereside.

The developers said outline plans for the 1.7acre site would include garaging, parking, access roads and up to 21 houses.

Agents acting for the Hedgers said that the site was previously used for industrial purposes but was now derelict and had a range of buildings “in a poor state of repair”.

The agents also said that the traffic levels would not “increase significantly” in the town as a result of the proposed housing because the site is “immediately adjacent to the existing relief road which gives excellent links back to the A142”.

But Soham Town Council objected to the proposal, saying that the joinery was a site designated for employment and was not suitable for housing.

And planning officer for East Cambridgeshire District Council, Richard West agreed with the town council, saying that the applicants had not proved that the site was not viable for business.

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Mr West also said that noise would be an issue for potential homeowners in the area.

Mr West said: “The proposed residential development will result in the loss of an employment site. The supporting information submitted with the application is considered insufficient to demonstrate that the site is no longer viable as an employment site.

“Due to the location of the application site between two employment sites and adjacent to a railway line an acoustic assessment was considered necessary to ensure the site is suitable for residential development.

“An acoustic assessment has not been submitted and therefore it cannot be ensured that a high standard of amenity can be ensured for the occupiers of the new dwellings.”

The Hedgers have six months to appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.