More homes alarm

PUBLISHED: 11:13 10 May 2007 | UPDATED: 12:28 04 May 2010

FEARS are growing that East Cambridgeshire could be forced to take more homes than originally planned. Planners are worried the Government is moving the goalposts in relation to housing targets and the district s plan for 9,890 new homes by 2021 could b

FEARS are growing that East Cambridgeshire could be forced to take more homes than originally planned.

Planners are worried the Government is 'moving the goalposts' in relation to housing targets and the district's plan for 9,890 new homes by 2021 could be just the minimum.

The concerns were expressed in a report by East Cambridgeshire District Council's principal forward planning officer, Katie Child, to members of the strategic development committee.

She said the Government has recommended strategic housing targets for each district should be treated as 'floors' rather than 'ceilings'.

"At present, there is considerable uncertainty about the methodology which should be taken in calculating housing capacity," she told councillors.

"The Government rec-ommends the strategic housing targets for each district should be treated as floors rather than ceilings. Therefore the East Cam-bridgeshire target of 9,890 dwellings would be a minimum to be met."

East Cambridgeshire plan-ners have identified sites for new housing but may have a shortfall of land for about 200 homes.

Councillors have been advised to build "sufficient flexibility" into the local development framework to identify new sites, if necessary.

But Ms Child told the Ely Standard the Government has indicated new settlements should be sited nearer to Cambridge, and claims she is as "confident as she can be" that pressure will not be on Ely and its villages.

She said: "If there is a need for more growth housing would be located near to Cambridge because it has a sustainable strategy. Ely is not sustainable."

She added that the Mereham new town, which could see 5,000 new homes built between Wilburton and Stretham, would "not be near the top of the list".

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