Government to release £6.3m for essential access to unlock 553 homes for Eastern Gateway development at Soham

Soham Eastern Gateway outline of the site for 553 homes.

Soham Eastern Gateway outline of the site for 553 homes. - Credit: Archant

With one fell swoop – well actually £6.3million from the Government – and suddenly all roads lead to Soham with the increased likelihood of more than 550 new homes now sooner than expected.

Soham Eastern Gateway outline of site

Soham Eastern Gateway outline of site - Credit: Archant

A kindly Government has offered the money to break the deadlock and buy the land and then build a new roundabout to create access to the Eastern Gateway development - a mini village within the town.

“Let’s hope they review the plan to make it a bit more acceptable to Soham residents,” said town councillor Charles Warner. .

Up to 200,000 new homes are set to get off the ground nationwide as the government confirmed £866 million investment in local housing projects.

Soham is one of 133 council-led projects across the country to receive funding to support local work that will make housing developments viable and get much-needed homes built quicker.

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our priority is building the homes this country desperately needs”.

Last June – and seven years after thought was given to a masterplan for the area - an outline planning application for 553 homes, a roundabout onto the A142, a new medical centre, new business units and leisure and retail areas was put to East Cambs planners.

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However with a target date for a decision of October 20, the application was temporarily withdrawn following a county council report that said not enough information had been provided about highways provision. The county was also unhappy about an access strategy that included a proposal for a link from the A142 to Pratt Street passing a primary school. The junction was unsuitable for a “major intensification” said the county council.

In November East Cambs planning manager Rebecca Saunt told developers the application had not been decided because “unacceptable matters” were still outstanding.

The county council wants much more detailed work done to address highways issues.

“The application as submitted does not include sufficient information to properly determine the highway impact of the proposed development,” developers were told.

One issue still outstanding and detailed in many letters to the district council is the need to relocate a number of allotments.

“The current allotment holders have spent a great deal of time, effort and expense on their allotments and all of this will be lost,” one resident complained as recently as September.

“Many are too elderly to contemplate starting over again and the proposed area for replacement allotments is unsuitable anyway, being prone to standing water.”