In hugely disappointing news, East Cambs district council’s Planning Committee today unanimously approved Endurance Estates’ application for planning permission for 53 dwellings at Garden Close in Sutton.
The committee had refused an identical application in January this year, and the outcome of Endurance’s appeal against that decision is still not known.
The number of dwellings on the site is more than double the number allocated in the district council’s draft Local Plan, which envisaged 25 retirement bungalows in this location. The smaller 25-bungalow proposal had some support from the local community, and was reflected in Sutton’s draft Neighbourhood Plan.
The proposed density of the development will be higher than in parts of the North Ely development in the city centre. The site itself is also larger, leading to the need for complex drainage arrangements which would have to be managed in perpetuity. Other properties in the area already experience problems with surface water, excess rainwater, and water run-off.
The permission given today is an ‘outline’ planning permission, which decides only the total number of houses and that access to the new development will be via the existing small road into Garden Close. The detailed layout and other matters still remain to be decided by the Planning Committee at a future date.
17 of the 53 dwellings will be ‘affordable’, but the definition of this is 80 per cent of full price.
Image: Cllr Lorna Dupré with Mark Inskip at Garden Close
The A142 will be shut (completely) between the Mepal bridge and the Sutton roundabout overnight from Wednesday 14 to Tuesday 27 November, between 8:00PM and 6:00AM (it’ll be open during the day).
The reason for the closure is so that the county council can install four new traffic islands to improve road safety. While they are doing this they will also be sealing and patching the road surface, and trimming back overgrowing trees.
This suggests that between 8:00PM and 6:00AM residents of Mepal will need to make their way in and out of the village via Witcham.
However, the situation regarding traffic diversion has become more complicated due to the fact that because of an oversight the Chatteris to Somersham road will also be closed for other works for the whole duration of the Mepal works.
This would not be the divert advertised by the county council for the Mepal works, as they advertise diverts at the same road grade as the road being closed (so because the A142 is an A road, they would advertise A-road diverts). But Chatteris to Somersham would be the divert used by many locals, and closing off this route makes for an even longer divert.
So what are your options if you want to get from one end of the road closure to the other?
- The advertised divert will be (believe it or not) via Chatteris, Warboys, down to Hartford near Huntingdon, and back along the A1123 (55 minutes to get from Mepal to Sutton by that route, according to Google Maps).
- Some traffic may get as far as Warboys and then turn off via Pidley, Somersham and the Colne road to Earith, though that wouldn’t be an advertised diversion route as it’s not an A road route.
- The closure of the Chatteris to Somersham road starts just north of the London Road junction with the drove road route through Sutton Gault. I have raised this with officers, as that cuts off this much shorter, but rather rural, divert route which some with 4x4s and stout suspensions may wish to use. I have been advised that there will be a gateman at this junction, who will allow domestic vehicles (but not HCVs) through the junction onto the drove road to Sutton Gault.
I’ve done my best to work with the council to find workarounds, including suggesting convoys on the A142 and all sorts, but no dice. It’s going to be complete and utter mayhem for a fortnight, but council officers are understandably highly reluctant to defer either scheme on grounds of cost, and I’m reluctant to defer the Mepal works too, as the works are long awaited, and much needed.
Photo: Cllr Lorna Dupré with Mark Inskip at the Mepal junction
Update on Mepal Outdoor Centre here, with the prospect of it reopening in early summer 2019.
Image: Mepal Outdoor Centre geograph 2938261 by J Thomas
The following planning applications in the Sutton division have been published by East Cambridgeshire District Council.
Meadow Croft Lodge 10A Gravel End Coveney CB6 2DN
Four dwellings, adapting the existing access from Gravel End and associated works.
8 Main Street Coveney CB6 2DJ
Demolition of existing garage and construction of new two storey extension.
Site North east of Downham Lodge Second Drove Little Downham
2 four bed dwellings with double garages.
Land rear of 4 Bridge Road Mepal CB6 2AR
The demolition of an existing detached garage and the erection of a three bedroom dwelling with detached double garage and store room.
Unit 5 and 6 Sterling Place Elean Business Park Sutton
Cover building for packaging compactors to aid recycling.
Midway Garage 76-78 Main Street Witchford
Retrospective application for erection of a vehicle garage.
Further information can be found on the district council’s planning pages. If you would like to respond formally to the council about any planning application, comments should be addressed to the district council and not to me. Comments may be made
- online using the council’s public access webpage (the link above);
- by email to email@example.com;
- or by post to the Planning Department, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, CB7 4EE.
Littleport will move from North East Cambridgeshire to a new Thetford and Downham Market parliamentary constituency, if proposals from the Boundary Commission are given the green light by MPs.
Sutton and the Downham Villages will remain in North East Cambridgeshire constituency, together with Fenland.
Meanwhile South East Cambridgeshire is set to lose Fulbourn, Linton and Teversham to South Cambridgeshire constituency, and gain Earith from Huntingdonshire.
Littleport will remain in East Cambridgeshire for district and county council purposes.
This is the Boundary Commission’s final report. It will now be laid before Parliament, and a draft Order will be made for Parliament to approve (or reject). After the Order has been made, the next General Election will take place on the new boundaries. Any parliamentary by-elections in the meantime will take place on existing boundaries.
News from Cambridgeshire County Council:
‘Work is due to commence on a new lift at Ely Library from Saturday 8 September until Wednesday 17 October. This work is essential to improve fire safety provision and provide accessibility for all. We are committed to minimising the disruption to our customers as much as possible, the latest information is as follows:
The Library will remain open, apart from the following days, 8, 10, 11 , 17 ,18 , 24 and 25 September and 1 ,2 ,8 , 9 , 13, 15 and 16 October. There will be a mobile library parked on Ely Market on Saturday 8 September and Saturday 13 October.
The lift will be unavailable during the duration of the works, however the ‘Library at Home’ service is offering temporary home visits to customers unable to access via the stairs and will deliver books to customers’ homes. There are posters and a contact number already displayed in the library to alert customers.
The out of hours book drop on the ground floor will remain open all day while the work is carried out and a telephone number will be displayed on the ground floor that is a direct line through to the library desk on the first floor. Customers who cannot access the library and who require assisted digital help with forms such as blue badge and bus pass applications, can arrange an appointment with library staff who will assist them at Ely Job Centre.
Staff are also working with the East Cambridgeshire access group to ensure they are aware of the special arrangements that are in place throughout this period. The service are also working closely with our room hirers and partners to discuss access during closed periods to minimise any inconvenience.’
[Many thanks to Julie Elsey for the photograph of the diary with the library closure dates]