Villagers opposed to 500 homes proposed by East Cambs Council claim majority oppose it - and for good reasons too

Kennett Action Group: Their banner

Kennett Action Group: Their banner - Credit: Archant

Protestors trying to stop 500 homes being built by East Cambs District Council at Kennett believe the proposals will wreck village life and are unsustainable.

Kennett Action Group: Drawing showing the scale of the proposed development of 500 homes

Kennett Action Group: Drawing showing the scale of the proposed development of 500 homes - Credit: Archant

Campaigner Karen Clegg, a member of the Kennett Action Group, said the extra homes would see a 312 per cent growth “which is completely disproportionate”.

She said the community land trust (CLT) that is submitting the proposals represent less than half the village was blocking opponents from joining.

“The CLT has ignored requests from people who wish to join but who are against the build as they know that it will tip the vote and East Cambs District Council would not have the community support that they need under a section of the local plan,” she said.

She accused the CLT and the council of “using a scaremongering method right from the outset, telling people that if the council does not go ahead then a larger development would happen and they would be powerless to stop it.”

Ms Clegg said a smaller proposed development of 120 houses which would have been far more acceptable in size for the village “has been completely disregarded by CLT and ECDC.

“Of course it won’t appear in the five year plan because it is East Cambs Council that writes the plan and wants its own build to go ahead.

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“What chance have we got when the people who decide whether this build goes ahead are in fact the purchasers and builders of the land/development?”

Fellow protestor Fahmy Fayez Fahmy is also actively arguing the case against the 500 homes.

She said support was exaggerated and the reality was that the village was not on mains sewage, had no gas supplies, had a single file track over a rail line, and a proposed £2 million roundabout near The Bell could not be built because of the proximity of listed buildings.

“We are not NIMBYs but the truth is the majority of people in Kennett oppose it,” she said.

Ms Clegg said “We feel that the village has been ridden rough shod over and we need to make a stand.”

The council’s development arm Palace Green Homes invited villagers to see a master plan of the proposed housing estate last week.

“The vision and master plan for Kennett Garden Village has evolved through a process of collaborative planning with local people, statutory authorities and service providers;” it says on their website.

They also claim a community planning weekend in November 2016 “significantly shaped the current plans” that will include fewer lorries through the village, a new school, better parking at the rail station, a new shop and high quality affordable housing for local people.