Development of 160 homes is refused by planners due to “a number of concerns” over parking, noise and flooding

The development was refused by councillor planners. PHOTO: East Cambs Council

The development was refused by councillor planners. PHOTO: East Cambs Council - Credit: Archant

A development of 160 homes that was hailed as being of “significant benefit” to Soham has been refused by planners due to parking, noise and risk of flooding.

The site on Blackberry Lane had initially been recommended for approval, but East Cambs councillors said developers were trying to “squeeze too much into the site” and 130 homes would have been a “better plan”.

The proposal was for 152 homes and eight self-build plots developed on farmland nearby the A142 bypass.

Speaking at the planning committee meeting, agent Geoff Armstrong remarked that the scheme would have developed a “wide range of affordable housing”.

However, councillors said that the land was being “overdeveloped”, with a “number of concerns” surrounding tandem parking, appearance, noise, flooding and waterlogging.

A report from the meeting read: “Councillor Rouse regretted that the numbers had not been reduced, as he thought an opportunity had been missed to create something better.

“Councillor Hunt said that much work had been done and it had merit. However, he was uncomfortable with the overall scheme because he felt there had been misinterpretation of the local plan.

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“The developers were trying to squeeze too much into the site and 130 dwellings would have allowed for a much better plan.

“The current scheme would cause vehicular chaos.

“Councillor Hunt commented that the principle of development on the site had been established and it should therefore be developed.

“But to grant approval today would be a panic measure and he duly proposed that the officer’s recommendation for approval be refused.”

Only one letter of objection had been received throughout the planning process.

Mr Armstrong, agent, added: “The applicant had addressed all the comments raised and the scheme would bring significant benefits to the town.

“Reinvestment enabled the provision of high quality homes without public subsidy.

“This site was allocated for 160 dwellings in the 2015 local plan and this site was part of the council’s land supply and it was important that it came forward.”

The committee returned to the motion for refusal and when put to the vote, and it was declared carried, with there being seven votes for and two against.

The meeting took place on June 6.