East Cambs Council ready to forge ahead with building 500 homes on the Suffolk border as part of Community Land Trust expansion
PUBLISHED: 12:04 13 October 2016
A village near to the Suffolk border has been earmarked for 500 homes on a 220 acre site to be developed by East Cambridgeshire District Council using its new trading arm Palace Green Homes.
The district council is working with the parish council at Kennett to create a not for profit community land trust (CLT) to ensure villagers are not only are involved from the outset but some can be used to house local residents.
If agreed the new housing would more than double the size of the village – in 2013 the population was put at 340, a six per cent fall from the 2001 Census.
Palace Green Homes has filed a scoping report with its own planning department and Cambridge based Strutt & Parker has been retained to work up proposals for the proposed development. Dane Hill Road and Station Road run along the northern and eastern boundaries with another farm and the A11 nearby.
Council leader James Palmer described it as a “partnership with the community” that would help meet the requirements, too, of the Local Plan.
He said that with a successful CLT at Stretham and others being set up at Haddenham and Fordham the council were well positioned to ensure high quality housing and low density.
Paul Sutton of Strutt & Parker told a meeting of Kennett Parish Council that a shadow board of the CLT comprised eight people – four of whom are parish councillors- and an application for legal entity status is going through. East Cambs Council is helping to fund the process.
Villagers are now being approached for support and a door to door campaign has been undertaken.
I understand the council is keen to avoid private developers ramping up applications for villages to ensure the council fulfils Government targets for housing growth.
In the case of Kennett the district council is thought to have considered what some regard as the scatter gun approach at nearby Red Lodge where growth has not always been welcomed by the community.
The report before East Cambs says there is “growing demand for housing in East Cambridgeshire and there is an ongoing shortage of affordable housing.” A rail line with connections to Ipswich and Cambridge is considered a big advantage.
Palace Green Homes could submit a full application as early as next year: it is expected to show a phased development to include possible start-up business uses.
“The requirements of the CLT will be an important factor in the considerations of the design team,” says Palace Green Homes. “There will be extensive community engagement and consultation as part of the planning process.”