The final draft of East Cambridgeshire’s Local Plan has now been published. This is the version which, assuming it is voted through by the council at its meeting on Thursday 5 October, will be examined by the Planning Inspector.
So what does it mean for residents in the Sutton division?
For Coveney, Pymoor, Wardy Hill and Wentworth, there are no housing allocations. Any new housing here is likely to be built on suitable infill sites within the villages.
For Little Downham there is one site, on land west of Ely Road where an allocation of 25 dwellings is proposed south of Cannon Street.
For Mepal there is also one site, at Brick Lane where an allocation of 50 dwellings is proposed.
For Witcham there is also one site, at the former Kings of Witcham site where 10 dwellings have already been given consent.
For Sutton, two sites are proposed for housing: land north of The Brook and west of Mepal Road (50-250 dwellings), and land east of Garden Close (25 dwellings). Both of these are smaller numbers of houses than proposed by Linden Homes or Endurance. The draft Plan also proposes a further allocation of employment land at the Elean Business Park, and – in a welcome move – two ‘local green spaces’, off The Brook and Lawn Lane, which will offer these two popular recreation areas the same protection and status as green belt land. (See the map here).
The biggest and most controversial effect will however be felt in Witchford, with
- 128 dwellings north of Field End (already granted outline planning consent on appeal)
- 120 dwellings on land at Common Road
- 46 dwellings on land south of Main Street (already granted planning consent)
- 13 dwellings on land to the rear of 1-7 Sutton Road (already granted planning consent)
- 720 dwellings on land north east of Witchford, with a school and other facilities.
Additional employment land is proposed at Sedgeway Business Park, and seven protected ‘local green spaces’ at Victoria Green, Millennium Wood, Manor Road, between Field End and Wheats Close, Broadway, Common Road, and the Horse Meadow. Two ‘green wedges’ have also been identified to separate Witchford from the Lancaster Way business park. (See the map here).
Once the council has voted through the draft plan, it will be opened once again to public comments. For this version, however, comments will need to be directed to the Planning Inspector and not to the council. And if you’ve commented on something before, and you’re still not happy, you’ll need to repeat your comments, as previous responses won’t be carried over.
I’ve said all the way through this process that the council should have taken the braver decision to build larger settlements near good transport links, rather than spreading growth across villages that just aren’t able to sustain it. My view? If the council votes this through, it will be storing up problems for communities for decades to come.