East Cambs village does not need or want 70 new homes, argue planners

Haddenham housing scheme

Aerial view shows the house that could be demolished and the land behind it now subject - again- to an application for housing. East Cambs planners say the scheme at Haddenham should again be refused. - - Credit: Google

A bid to demolish a house and build 70 homes behind it is being recommended for refusal by planning officers at East Cambridgeshire District Council.  

The application is a renewed bid to develop the 10-acre site and early applications – all refused – began seven years ago.  

The site is 18 Wilburton Road, Haddenham, and the land is behind it: the latest application is within the countryside and outside the village boundary.  

Some 49 neighbours and villagers wrote into the council opposing the application – there were no letters of support.  

Their complaints range from visual impact, loss of green belt, density, outside the development envelope, and lack of need.  

"The adverse effects of previous applications still would significantly and demonstrably outweigh any benefits the development would bring,” said one.  

Another said there 162 houses have either begun or been completed in last few years and there was no need for a further 70. 

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Other objectors felt there was a need to consider that “Haddenham is a countryside village and that the countryside and wildlife needs to be preserved. 

“There is a need to minimise loss of habitat and species and improve and maintain environment for general well-being of everyone”.  

Others felt the GP surgery and school were already oversubscribed and existing developments around Haddenham already having increased impact. 

“Development would place strain on village infrastructure, schools and doctors. Medical services are under severe pressure,” says another objector.  

Planners argue that development in this area is “strictly controlled” says the council.  

The application will go before the planning committee on May 4 with councillors being told by their officers that the house estate is not acceptable.  

“It would give rise to an inappropriate development with no justification to override the normal presumption against development in the countryside,” says their report. 

It says Haddenham is one of the highest points in the Fens and the application site sits at a key vantage point in the district.  

“From this part of Haddenham, there are attractive and locally valued views from the ridge down across the Fens to Cambridge, and the site takes in part of this existing vista,” it says. 

“This is a highly distinctive landscape in the local area and is an important part of the setting, not only of Haddenham, but also of the Isle of Ely.  

“The open and attractive vista also forms an important gap between Haddenham and Wilburton, with the highway between the two running along the top of the ridge. 

"Due to the existing landscape features, the topography of the area and the position of the public highways, the proposed scheme will result in a development which would not positively contribute to the character of Haddenham. 

“I would give rise to adverse landscape effects.  

“The proposed development would create another cul-de-sac development on the edge of the village which is poorly connected and, given its indicative form and layout, would not create a distinctive addition to the village nor retain open rural views.  

The planning history of the site consists of two main applications for this site which were for up to 100 homes.  

The first application was refused by the planning committee because of the unsustainability of the site, landscape visual impact, impact on archaeology and lack of foul water drainage details.  

Haddenham housing plan

East Cambs planners being asked to demolish a house in Haddenham and to allow 70 homes to be built behind it. - Credit: Google

A further application was submitted in 2019 which was also refused by the planning committee for five reasons in relation to: landscape visual impact, highway safety, impact on biodiversity, impact on existing primary health care, and failure to provide five per cent self-build properties.  

Agents say both previous applications were “subject to an extensive consultation exercise through which a clear understanding of the community and local authority’s concerns can be understood”. 

They added that “given that this application before the council is a comparable scheme to that submitted in 2019, in that it seeks the principle of development and access only, no further community consultation has been undertaken. 

Haddenham housing site

Proposed lay-out of 70 homes in Haddenham that has attracted widespread opposition. East Cambs planning committee will decide the application on May 4. - Credit: ECDC planning

“The corresponding planning supporting statement sets down the change in circumstances since the 2019 application and how this application has responded to the refused decision”.