Government inspector rejects 160 homes for Burwell - a decision that is giving fresh hopes to opponents of 500 homes at Kennett

PUBLISHED: 17:01 11 April 2019

Ness Road, Burwell, where 90 homes proposed by David Wilson Homes have been rejected following an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. Another village site for 70 homes was also turned down on appeal - the applicant was Barratt Homes Eastern. Picture; DAVID WILSON

Ness Road, Burwell, where 90 homes proposed by David Wilson Homes have been rejected following an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. Another village site for 70 homes was also turned down on appeal - the applicant was Barratt Homes Eastern. Picture; DAVID WILSON

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Two almost identical applications that would have seen 160 homes built in Burwell have been refused by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate on appeal.

Ness Road, Burwell, where 90 homes proposed by David Wilson Homes have been rejected following an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. Another village site for 70 homes was also turned down on appeal - the applicant was Barratt Homes Eastern. Picture; DAVID WILSONNess Road, Burwell, where 90 homes proposed by David Wilson Homes have been rejected following an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. Another village site for 70 homes was also turned down on appeal - the applicant was Barratt Homes Eastern. Picture; DAVID WILSON

Barratt Homes wanted to build 70 homes north of 17-45 Toyse Lane, Burwell, whilst David Wilson Homes had hoped for 90 homes off Ness Road, Burwell.

Both were refused consent by East Cambridgeshire District Council on the grounds that they would spoil the character of the area.

And that argument has been sustained in a ruling by planning inspector D J Board who heard both appeals.

Of the David Wilson proposals he accepted evidence that where the site meets existing housing residents would “experience localised significant visual harm in the short term”.

Mr Board visited the area and listened to various options to improve the view and to lessen or remove any impact on the landscape.

However he concluded that “overall the scheme would create a prominent artificial edge to the settlement in this location”. It would not emphasise or add to the landscape character as the company had suggested.

Overall he felt the housing estate would have “a harmful effect on the landscape character of the area” and would conflict with council policies.

The inspector said the council did not have a five year supply of deliverable housing (they only have 3.94 years) and accepted their performance had been poor even though they were now taking “positive steps” to address the shortfall.

However Mr Board said that whilst he accepted this argument and agreed that there would be some affordable housing provided, he felt the reasons for refusal outweighed the benefits.

“Whilst this proposal would deliver social and economic benefits they would, to my mind, be significantly and demonstrably outweighed by the adverse effect of the environmental harm identified,” he said.

Similar reasons were given for rejecting the appeal by Barratt Homes for 70 homes at Toyse Lane.

The decision has been welcomed by protestors locally but also by members of Kennett Action Group who are fighting off plans by East Cambs Council for 500 homes in their village.

The council is both applicant and determining body and will consider the Kennett application – which has a substantial element of community land trust housing within it – at a special planning committee on April 24.

“The Burwell decisions by the Government have given us some optimism in our fight against 500 homes in our village,” said a spokesman for Kennett Action Group.

The Kennett application will be considered by councillors at a meeting to be held in the Etheldreda Room at the Ely Cathedral Conference Centre, Palace Green, Ely.

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