Residents hit out at development plans

A GROUP of residents in Soham have hit out at plans to develop more than 80 new homes in a “quiet” area of the town.

According to an application submitted to the district council late last year, more than seven acres of land is set to be developed between Fordham Road, Staples Lane and Brook Street.

Neighbours of the site, whose properties back on to where the new homes could go, are unhappy with the plans however, and are calling on other residents in the area to object.

The group say their homes could be overlooked and believe that the town cannot cope with more development without additional amenities.

Just a few yards from the proposed build site, on former allotment gardens, planning permission has already been granted for 96 new homes and neighbours say another development will put a strain on services and lead to a dangerous increase in traffic.

According to the plans, the development will include “a minimum” of 86 flats, terraces and semi-detached properties.

A residents meeting was held at the Cherry Tree pub on Monday, with local councillors also in attendance, another meeting is planned for Monday, January 23 at 7.30pm.

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Louise Kent, who lives on Staples Lane, told council planners: “It seems as if this application has been submitted at the same time as other development within the area so that it can go under the radar.

“There is already one major development site in the area that has nearly been approved that doesn’t affect any existing (houses). The town would not be able to cope with both sites and the volume of residents it will bring.”

Diane and Dennis Westley, also of Staples Lane, told planners: “This development is going to affect schools and the health centre, they can hardly cope with the numbers they have at the moment. Does this mean the schools and health centre will also be expanded?”

And Ann Tyson, of Fordham Road, said: “I am very concerned about an increase in traffic and would have though Soham can only sustain more rapid growth if it has public transport alternatives.

“It will also increase pressure on the schools, which are already dealing with increased numbers from other developments.”

According to the applicants however, “It is considered that there would not be a significant adverse impact on the residential amenity of neighbouring occupiers because new residential gardens will adjoin the existing rear gardens of properties on Fordham Road, Staples Lane and Brook Street.”

The applicants also rejected fears of increased noise and disturbance from traffic, saying that the new development would have wide, landscaped roads and off street parking.

Soham Town Council raised no objections about the plans. A decision on the application is expected within eight weeks.