Committee votes down councillor's bid for new home

soham house refusal

Site plan showing new home proposed for Soham. It was rejected 9-0 by the planning committee of East Cambridgeshire District Council. - Credit: ECDC

The planning committee of East Cambridgeshire District Council voted 9-0 to support officers who had recommended refusal of a bid by a councillor to build a house in Soham.  

Cllr Josh Schumann, the deputy council leader, had put forward proposals for a house on a quarter acre site east of 79 Fordham Road Soham. 

But the committee agreed the proposed development was “within the countryside outside the defined settlement boundary of Soham, where new development is strictly controlled”.  

Soham Town Council felt it should be refused because it was “outside the development envelope, unstainable, impact on Water Tower, a recognised landmark entering Soham”.

Planners felt it failed to meet any of the exceptions and would give rise to “an inappropriate development with no justification to override the normal presumption against development in the countryside”. 

They also pointed out that the application failed to include a noise assessment and had not “satisfactorily demonstrated” that any potential noise nuisance for future occupiers could be adequately mitigated.  

A report to the committee pointed out that any house built there could suffer from traffic noise on the adjoining A142 and Fordham Road and the adjacent haulage depot.  

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This would put it in conflict with policies within the East Cambridgeshire Local Plan of 2015 and approved by the council. 

It would also contrary to another part of the Local Plan “which seeks to protect, conserve and where possible enhance the settlement edge.  

“The introduction of a dwelling in this location would result in an urbanising incursion of development into open countryside, further eroding the separation between Soham and Fordham.  

“This would cause significant and demonstrable harm to the character of the countryside and the key views into and out of both settlements.” 

Officers also felt there was insufficient information to demonstrate that the proposed development would not be prejudicial to highway safety. 

However, the committee was told that “the only matter to be considered at this stage is access.  

“The plans associated with this application are therefore limited, and include a location plan and a block plan indicating the proposed access arrangement.  

“The matters of appearance, landscaping, layout and scale would be considered at a reserved matters stage”.