Government minister James Brokenshire reminds East Cambs Council to delay Kennett 500 homes decision ‘without specific authorisation’

Site where new houses will be built looks to swamp Kennett,Kennett, NewmarketMonday 15 April 2019. P

Site where new houses will be built looks to swamp Kennett,Kennett, NewmarketMonday 15 April 2019. Picture by Terry Harris. - Credit: © Terry Harris

Housing and local government minister James Brokenshire has confirmed a temporary block on approving the 500 homes proposed by East Cambridgeshire District Council at Kennett.

Mr Brokenshire's department has now written to the council confirming the council cannot grant permission on the application "without specific authorisation".

It is part of a procedure whereby local councils must win approval from the Government where they are both the applicant and the planning authority.

The Kennett 500 scheme was controversially approved by East Cambs Council in April in a move that will reap huge financial benefits for council tax payers through the arms length council trading arm East Cambs Trading Company Ltd.

Mr Brokenshire will now decide whether he personally will use the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to determine the application himself or refer it to a public inquiry.

Under the law where consultation with the Secretary of State is required, the local planning authority cannot grant planning permission on the application until the expiry of a period of 21 days beginning with the date which the Secretary of State notifies the local planning authority that the consultation has been received and he has all the information necessary to consider the matter.

The decision to grant the outline proposals for Kennett followed a three hour meeting by members of the district council's planning committee on April 24..

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The new Kennett Garden Village would see the size of the area balloon by more than 300 per cent.

The site will create a new community with village square, commercial units, allotments, orchards, a new primary school and recreation grounds.

Despite strong opposition from the Kennett Action Group - who have fought tirelessly against the scheme in recent months - councillors labelled proposals as being "magnificent", "tremendous" and the "ideal enhancement" to the village.

The application was presented on behalf of East Cambs Trading Company for what they claimed as "a community-led housing development supported by the Kennett Community Land Trust (KCLT)".

However opposition from the Kennett Action Group culminated in more than 150 protest letters from villagers being hand delivered to the council.

Terry Frost, from the group, said the scheme was full of "fear mongering and misinformation."

"These plans have failed to meet several of the criteria for new developments".