Recent planning applications

The following local applications have been published by East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Agricultural building south east of 6 Straight Drove, Coveney
Change of use of an agricultural building to a dwelling house.

Little Downham
Green Acres, Straight Furlong, Pymoor
Steel portal framed building.

Land parcel between Grannys End Road and A142 off Marroway Lane, Witchford
Nine dwellings.

Oak Farm, West Fen Road, Ely
Detached two storey dwelling, cart lodge, garage and associated works.

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;
      • or by post to the Planning Department, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, CB7 4EE.

Final draft of East Cambs local plan published

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.

Planning Committee to determine Mepal and Witcham applications

An all-day meeting of East Cambridgeshire District Council’s Planning Committee starting at 9:30am is scheduled for Wednesday 4 October, because of the number of planning applications currently being received by the council.  (Meetings of the committee usually start at 2:00pm).

The agenda has now been published, and it includes three applications in the Sutton division.

6. Land Adjacent Hiams Farm, Chatteris Road, Mepal (Map): this application (17/01036/FUL) for a four-bedroomed house is being recommended for refusal by the council’s planning officers. It is supported by the parish council and one of the two district councillors, but opposed by the Environment Agency on grounds of flood risk.

13. Land Adjacent to No. 2 Market Way, Witcham, CB6 2LP (Map): this application (17/01326/OUT) for a two storey dwelling, with single carport, parking, access, turning and associated site works is also being recommended for refusal by the council’s planning officers. It is opposed by the parish council, but is supported by a district councillor in Soham who has asked for the application to be decided by the Planning Committee.

19. 9 High Street, Witcham, CB6 2LQ (Map): this application (17/01547/OUT) for a low energy sustainable home, located within the northern boundary of 9 High Street, Witcham is being recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers. It is opposed by the parish council.  The Chairman of the Planning Committee has asked for the application to be decided by the Planning Committee as the previous application for this site was rejected in February.

Members of the public are allowed to speak at meetings of the Planning Committee.  A leaflet about public speaking at Planning Committee meetings can be downloaded here.

Considering a career in teaching?

Considering a career in teaching?  If so, you might want to book a place on Teach in Cambridgeshire’s Initial Teacher Training event to find out more.

Anglia Ruskin University
Thursday 16 November 2017

There will be a range of local providers offering all phases and routes such as school centred places, PGCE, BEd, or internships.  Tickets can be booked here [link]

Queen Adelaide: road and rail consultation event

Do you use the roads in and around Queen Adelaide?  If so, you might want to drop in to the consultation event on Thursday 14 September from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Queen Adelaide Village Hall.

More trains and better rail services would clearly bring benefits to the local area and beyond.  But with three level crossings on the road through Queen Adelaide, transport planners are faced with a problem.

Cambridgeshire County Council and Network Rail are holding this consultation event to understand more about how the traffic flows through the village and hear people’s views on the impact the three level crossings have on the area.

Representatives from Cambridgeshire County Council and Network Rail will be there.  Residents or businesses not able to attend the event will be able to feed back by email or by returning a comment card that will be posted ahead of the event. All responses must be received by Friday 29 September 2017.

For more information visit

Land East of Garden Close

I have now written to the council with my response to the outline planning application for up to 53 houses east of Garden Close (17/01445/OUM):

I oppose this development on a number of grounds. The site of this proposed application is not the preferred site of the parish council, nor of local residents.  In general, it is accepted by residents of Sutton that any necessary development in the village should take place to the north, and not to the wetter south of the village where it slopes down to the fen.

Part of the site is included within the current draft of the district council’s Local Plan, with an indicative allocation of up to 25 dwellings.  The application for up to 53 dwellings, on a site that is extended to the north, south, and south-east of the site in the draft Local Plan, is excessive and inappropriate.

The late landowner had envisaged up to 25 environmentally sustainable bungalow homes on the site.  The applicants are proposing a scheme consisting almost totally of two-storey dwellings or above, which would negatively impact on the view and setting of the 14th century church, and would be out of keeping with the surrounding context, which consists almost entirely of bungalows.

The extension of the site to the south and south east involves building on very wet land, where residents in surrounding properties describe ongoing problems with water management.  Drainage is an ongoing issue in this part of the village.  The site sits on the same level as the part of Red Lion Lane where the water from the springs that run along the high street meets the Kimmeridge clay that lies under the topsoil.  Recent building at this level on Red Lion Lane appears to have exacerbated the persistent surface water problems at this location.  It is not clear that the applicants’ proposal adequately deals with known water management and drainage issues.

Meanwhile, the extension of the site to the north creates significant problems for the owner of 10 Oates Lane, who has already responded to this application.  The owner of this site was recently granted consent (17/00765) for the construction of a ‘lifetime home’ on that site, to meet the very special needs of the family which he describes in his submission.  The owner of this site, unlike residents in Garden Close, has not been consulted by the applicant, nor offered the same ‘buffer zone’ between the proposed site and his property as residents in Garden Close have been: indeed, due to an error in the drawing of the boundary, the built edge of the applicants’ proposal sits right on the boundary of his property, with no separation at all.  The owner of 10 Oates Lane has already made a very cogent submission about the problems relating to inaccurate drawing of boundaries, root protection areas for his trees, and the need to avoid overlooking of his family in the very particular circumstances he describes.

The effect on the local wildlife, and on the historic surrounding properties in the village’s conservation area, is also of great significance, as are the traffic issues which this application will exacerbate on the high street in both directions, on the top of Oates Lane, and on Church Lane and Station Road.

I support the view of the parish council that this application should come to the Planning Committee to determine, and that they should refuse it.

Number plate cameras for Waitrose car park in Ely

The John Lewis Partnership are applying to the council for consent to install two Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras at the Waitrose car park in Ely.

They propose to install a single MAV ANPR camera on a single post to cover both entrance and exit lanes. They say:

The new ANPR post and cameras will have the principal benefit to Waitrose customers and public users of the parking facility by improving security with the car park as well as adding to the efficiency of the management of the car park usage. We believe the new post will be in keeping with the surrounding site furniture in terms of scale and colour and will help to enhance and modernise this existing car park area.

The planning reference number is 17/01387/FUL. Details of the application can be found here and comments may be made (to the council, not to me!) until 31 August. You can make your views known to the council:

Garden Close, Sutton application now submitted

Endurance Estates has now submitted its planning application for the site east of Garden Close in Sutton. The application will need to be ‘validated’ by the council; it will then be given an application number and the application form and associated documents will be published on the council’s website.

Endurance’s proposals have changed from those shown at the first event in February, and the details are on their dedicated Garden Close website.  The changes include

  • Reducing the number of proposed properties to 53
  • Increasing the amount of public open space
  • Reducing the height of the houses on the boundary with Garden Close
  • Moving the ‘red line’ of the site on the boundary with Garden Close.

Once the planning application has been validated by the council, details will also be published on the applicants’ Garden Close website, along with the revised Masterplan.

Fenprobe talking newspaper

Janet and Sarah (pictured above) from Fenprobe Talking News were at Nellie’s Community Café in Sutton this morning. Fenprobe is one of the two charities for which Nellie’s will be fundraising over the coming months.

Fenprobe is a free service for blind or visually impaired residents in East Cambridgeshire. It’s moved on considerably since it was launched in late 1978, when the weekly news was sent out on 30 minute cassette tapes. Now there’s a smart black player (free of charge) with bright yellow buttons, which runs on rechargeable batteries – and the news is delivered on a USB stick, which holds a lot more information.

Fenprobe rents a studio in Ely, where over forty volunteers help read the news, on a five-weekly rota. There’s also a monthly magazine. Fenprobe relies entirely on donations and grants, and is very grateful for the support from Nellie’s.

Users of the service need to register, and must be referred by a doctor, optician or professional carer. If you know someone who has difficulty reading the local news, and who would benefit from this service, you can contact the secretary on 01353 861153.

Janet and Sarah also tell me they are always on the lookout for volunteer sound engineers – so if you have experience in that field, do give them a call on the number above.



Update: Re-development of the Princess of Wales, Ely site

Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust have just issued the following update about their plans for the Princess of Wales Hospital in Ely.

As Landlord of the Princess of Wales in Ely, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust is working with health and social care partners to create exciting re-development plans for the site.  Our ambitious plans for the future will ensure we maximise opportunities for the site to meet the needs of the local population in the long term, building on existing health and social care provision locally.

We have begun a programme of meetings with service providers on site to identify their future clinical and physical requirements for any new build/redesign.  We’re also meeting with key external partners, including East Cambridgeshire District Council and the local MP, to ensure we understand and can take into account the wider aspirations and challenges for the East Cambridgeshire population.

This programme of meetings will culminate in the development of a business case which in turn will inform a planning application in due course.  Once we have a clear understanding of stakeholder requirements and potential plans for the site (which we envisage will incorporate the majority of existing buildings being rebuilt to modern day standards), we will host a number of events in 2018 to share these proposals with the local community.

We anticipate that this process will lead to building work commencing on site in 2019 with the new site becoming operational in 2021.