Parish clerk warns of 'significant harm' through village homes

Plans for four additional homes off New Road, Witchford

Parish clerk Alison Hodges has warned of "significant harm" if plans for four additional homes in Witchford go ahead. - Credit: ECDC Planning Portal

A parish council believes plans to build four additional village homes “will result in significant harm” to the area. 

The Cambridge Housing Society (CHS) wants to build four bungalows at its affordable housing scheme at Skylarks, west of New Road, Witchford. 

It is next to the site where plans for 10 houses and three bungalows on land off Sutton Road were approved in 2017, which were initially refused. 

GSC Solicitors LLP, on behalf of CHS, said: “The proposal is to meet an identified local need for single storey accommodation. 

“The scheme provides much-needed affordable housing on a well-located ‘exceptions’ site.” 

That ‘exceptions’ site is an area of land which has been defined as outside the development boundary for Witchford. 

GSC Solicitors say proposals for small-scale affordable housing schemes on rural exception sites for residents with a connection to the village are “supported”, according to the Witchford Neighbourhood Plan. 

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They believe the relevant criteria has been met, something the parish council disagrees with. 

Alison Hodges, parish clerk, said: “The proposal does not meet the requirements of that policy, which says ‘the current approved housing developments in Witchford already provide sufficient affordable housing to meet local need’. 

“The development would result in significant harm to the area surrounding the proposed site.” 

Plans for four additional homes in Witchford

Four additional homes west of New Road, Witchford have been submitted but the parish council believe these will cause "significant harm". - Credit: ECDC Planning Portal

Mrs Hodges cited drainage concerns at nearby homes, which she said have been exacerbated since the prior 13 homes were built on Sutton Road. 

She also believes the plans do not “demonstrate that there is an identified need for these dwellings”. 

In 2019, plans for four single storey semi-detached dwellings were withdrawn by CHS so that “consultation responses can be more fully considered”. 

This time, two shared ownership and two social rented homes are planned to be provided. 

GSC Solicitors say each home “has been designed specifically to minimise impact on neighbouring interests, and to avoid overshadowing, overlooking and loss of privacy”. 

But some residents are against the proposals. 

One wanted more time for villagers to have their say on the plans and believe the limited time given to respond is “a circumvention of normal process”. 

Another added: “We have lived here for 30 years and have noted a serious increase in flooding in our garden and neighbouring properties since the construction of Skylarks.”