Up to 700 homes at Littleport likely to be approved by East Cambs District Council

Aerial view of the site at Littleport where up to 700 homes could be built. East Cambs Council offic

Aerial view of the site at Littleport where up to 700 homes could be built. East Cambs Council officers are recommending the scheme for approval. - Credit: Archant

Nearly 700 homes for Littleport are expected to be given the go ahead next Wednesday.

Included will be retirement homes and sheltered housing and a neighbourhood centre on the site north of Grange Lane.

Manor Oak Homes Ltd has been working with East Cambridgeshire District Council officers to resolve a complex series of conditions including the mix of affordable housing.

The planning committee will be told that originally the scheme allowed for 30 per cent of the homes to be affordable but following approval of the council’s Local Plan the numbers required has dropped to 20 per cent.

There will be 14 retirement bungalows and 50 retirement flats as well as public open space, shops and a community centre.

The application will provide approximately four hectares of usable public open space and 2.8 hectares of buffer open space between the development and the A10.

With the developable area being approximately 20 hectares, the net density is 34 homes per hectare.

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“The application is supported by an environmental statement (screened prior to submission), due to the potential significant impacts on archaeology and visual impact,” says the report to the committee.

“The requirement of an environmental statement does not weigh against a planning application, but should highlight that the impacts of the development go beyond the immediate area and careful consideration is required”

The developer “undertook significant pre-application advice with both the local community and the local planning authority in order to help guide the submission of the application and to overcome concerns at the earliest opportunity”.

The site is located adjacent and to the west of the Highfield Farm development and Woodfen Road (a narrow lane that no longer connects to the A10 along the western boundary).

The northern boundary is defined by the playing fields of the primary school on Parsons Lane. The southern boundary is defined by Grange Lane, which is the location of the main access onto the public highway.

“The site is currently a group of fields dived by a T shaped mature hedge and ditch,” says the report.

“The southern boundary is relatively open, while the northern boundary has a line of semi-mature tree line.”

Local councillor Paul Cox is quoted as telling officers that without prejudice, his initial thoughts are that the community facility is a good idea and should be under the control of the parish council.

It is likely that two bus stops on Ely Road will be upgraded since these are the closest stops to the site.

“The upgrades should include but not be limited to bus shelters, bus cages on the carriageway, flags, time tables and real time passenger information,” says the report.

“Could this bus service be improved? The routes between the site and the railway station should be assessed and any deficiencies highlighted and improvements included.”

The county council has undertaken a large piece of work to try and determine how best to deal with the traffic issues at the A10/A142 roundabouts, notes the report.

The committee will be asked to grant delegated approval to the planning manager “to make both the decision notice and S106 precise, relevant and reasonable.”