New bid for housing thwarted by Great Crested Newts

Proposed design for new homes at 123 High Street, Sutton 

Proposed design for new homes at 123 High Street, Sutton - Credit: PiP

Developers hope to have solved the riddle of how to deal with Great Crested Newts to allow demolition of derelict houses and their replacement with nine ‘upside down’ homes. 

The four- and five-bedroom homes will be built on the site of 123 High Street, Sutton, if East Cambridgeshire District Council agree. 

The proposed homes for the one-and-a-half-acre site will offer “upside down living to take advantage of views across fens,” says architects PiP who have submitted the design brief.  

In 2016 and again the following year, applications to redevelop the site failed, mainly because of Great Crested Newts in a pond within 25 metres of the boundary.  

In the first application the council said not sufficient information had been provided to tackle the issue.  

A year later the council also refused permission because of the failure to “guarantee the long-term survival of the existing newt populations”. 

PiP say the buildings have been derelict for some time, and the site has been neglected and overgrown. 

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“Therefore, ecology enhancement on site will be an important aspect of this proposal to provide habitats for local biodiversity,” it has told the council. 

One of the properties due for demolition at 123 High Street, Sutton, to make way for 9 homes

One of the properties due for demolition at 123 High Street, Sutton, to make way for 9 homes - Credit: Google

"The presence of a Great Crested Newt population in the two nearby ponds means that significant mitigation measures will be made during the construction process to prevent any disruption to the species.  

“The addition of a pond in the land to the south creates a suitable breeding ground for the Great Crested Newts, safely connected by the newly introduced green corridor.” 

PiP says that in addition to these two newt hibernacula will be provided near the pond and log piles will provide a suitable habitat for small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.  

Measures outlined, they say, will “provide a long-term sustainable habitat to support a variety of species, with special considerations for Great Crested Newts.  

One of the properties due for demolition at 123 High Street, Sutton, to make way for 9 homes

One of the properties due for demolition at 123 High Street, Sutton, to make way for 9 homes - Credit: Google

“Provided that the appropriate mitigation measures are followed, the additions will encourage a net biodiversity gain on the site, encouraging more species to reside in the enhanced region of the site.” 

PiP says the derelict homes “have a negative impact on the street scene and overall landscape of the area”. 

They add that the site is the only remaining area of undeveloped land bound between Sutton High Street and The Row.