East Cambs Council LOSES appeal as Gladman Developments succeed in securing consent for 100 homes at Fordham
PUBLISHED: 11:15 04 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:15 04 June 2018
Around 100 houses will be built on a field in Fordham following a successful appeal by Gladman Developments against East Cambridgeshire District Council's refusal of planning permission.
The site off Mildenhall Road has been at the centre of a public inquiry since being refused permission by the council last October due to concerns about ‘cramped’ appearance, impact on highways and local infrastructure.
However, The Planning Inspectorate determined that the housing can go ahead as the council is “unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land”.
When the council refused the application local ward member Councillor Julia Huffer warned that with other approvals it would mean the vllage growing by a third.
She said an extra 100 houses “would place an unacceptable burden on the infrastructure of this village. “Fordham is not against growth but I feel, as do many residents and the parish council, that we have done our bit.”
However the Planning Inspectorate has taken a different line and points out that there is “currently an under-provision of about 850 affordable dwellings within this district’ and that ‘there are benefits which accrue modest weight in favour of the proposal”.
The decision report reads: “The provision of sorely needed market and affordable housing should be attributed significant weight.
“The base year for the housing requirement is 2011, and since that date there has been a shortfall or undersupply of 2,026 dwellings.
“This is especially pertinent here, as there is currently an under-provision of about 850 affordable dwellings within this district.
“On the basis of the evidence before me, the council is currently unable to demonstrate a five year supply of housing land.”
It goes on to state that despite concerns over the size of the development, there would be a creation of jobs and there would not see an ‘unacceptable’ increase in vehicles.
The appeal decision continues: “The council do not dispute that ‘in principle’ the site is acceptable for housing; albeit with reservations over the density of the proposal and its visual impact.
“There would also be benefits accrued from the provision of public open spaces, improvements in biodiversity, the creation of jobs during the construction and on-going stages of the development. These are benefits which accrue modest weight in favour of the proposal.
“Furthermore, I do not consider that the lack of some services within the immediate village would result in unacceptable increases in car journeys given that the site is clearly located within a rural village where reliance on cars is likely to be greater than within the centre of a large city.
“Concerns have been raised in respect of the scale of development within the context of the settlement of Fordham, also referred to as the ‘cumulative impact’.
“But the village is subject to an increase of housing stock by about 345 homes and a 75 bedroom care home through other proposed developments.
“In percentage terms the already permitted growth would amount to an increase of roughly 30 per cent in housing stock within the village.
“It is undeniable that the character of the appeal site would change from an agricultural field to a small housing development.
“However, it is set back from Mildenhall Road (the B1102), with a single narrow access point to the site located within existing built form.”