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Controversial housing development near Peterborough gets go-ahead

A controversial planning application for the construction of 265 houses on land in Eye has been approved.
Eye plan

Members of Peterborough City Council Planning and Environmental Protection Committee gave the go-ahead for the outline application at their meeting this week (January 25) despite numerous objections - including one from Paul Bristow MP.

Addressing the meeting, Cllr Nigel Simons, speaking as local ward councillor, said: “There are many issues with this application, but I will concentrate on the one which most concerns me.

“The number of objections to this outline application is unprecedented: A total of 381 individual written responses have been recorded with 378 of them objecting and just three in support.

“All the ward councillors object, as do all the parish councillors and even our local MP, Paul Bristow.

“Now, although we agree that this site is in the Local Plan for development, we were assured it would be developed with adequate infrastructure – but I can see no evidence of this.

“In addition, I believe a ‘fit-for-purpose’ link road from the A47 is required, and this was discussed with the developer about two and a half years ago, but it seems they have no intention whatsoever of working with us.

“Indeed, it has been indicated that the only grounds that could be considered by this committee for the refusing of this development would be on highway grounds if there was an impact on highway safety leading to a severe impact on the road network.

“Anybody from Eye will testify how difficult it is at the present time to gain entry to or leave Eye at peak times because the current highway infrastructure is already at peak capacity.

“We are told that through improving the cycleway and public footpath as well as the access to Thorney Road and putting a zebra crossing across the road will mitigate any transport issues.

“Im no transport expert, but will somebody please explain to me how 500 more cars not to mention all the construction vehicles travelling down a narrow 7.5-ton limit road next to a primary school can be mitigated? How can we not be concerned about this road?

“I have never felt so strongly against an application, and I would ask this committee to go against officers recommendations and refuse this application.

Speaking on behalf of the developers Mr Chris Dwan, Planning Director at Allison Homes said: “The site of our outline application is located off Eyebury Road in the village of Eye approximately 0.5 km south from the village centre and immediately adjacent to the primary school. The village centre is designated as a conservation area.

“The site extends to around 13.1 hectares and is generally level with the land currently arable land and split into two distinct parts divided by a central drainage ditch which runs north to south.

“There is a public right of way running down one side of it which extends along the southern border of the site.

“The original application was for 300 dwellings and the highways impact report was based on that figure.

“With the reduction in the number of dwellings in the current outline application, this was the ultimate factor which proved to be an acceptable impact level for highways who now have no objections.

“We’re well aware of the impact possibilities outlined by Cllr Simons, and we feel that having done everything that we can to mitigate those, and with the agreement of highways that we have now done everything that could be expected of us.

“And just to clarify a couple of points – the link-road from the A47 is outside of our control and moreover is outside of the allocation area as well, so it never really was an option that was for us.”

Chair, Cllr Peter Hiller, said: “Having listened to everybody’s views and thoughts I think what we have to be careful of is that if we are objecting to this, we need planning reasons to do that rather than we just don’t like it because the ward councillors don’t like it or because the locals don’t like it.

“I think we need to be very careful and I’m always conscious of the appeal process, so we have to be very sure within this committee that we are not being unreasonable, and that we’ve evaluated all the points for and against any particular application and I think that’s really very important.

“The problem I have with this outline application for up to 265 houses is that this is an allocated site – it is in our adopted 2019 Local Plan for up to 250 houses – it could be more, it could be less, it isn’t a prescribed target as such – and so we mustn’t be confused with what is an outline application and what are reserved matters.”

After more than an hour of debate, members voted by majority of seven in favour to three against, to grant the outline application.