A Wisbech company – that describes itself as a “household name in the area for architectural services” -has welcomed a loosening of planning restrictions by Fenland District Council. Peter Humphrey Associates explains that as a reason for re-submitting an application, with an amendment, that was refused by the council in February of this year.
“Since the decision was made, there has been a re-structure of the (planning) committee following on from May’s elections, which has led to a number of planning approvals being given for similar sites with similar points of discussion,” the company says.
It adds: “Which we believe have set firm precedents for development within the district’s villages.
“As such, we consider it only fair that this site is re-considered.”
The application he is asking the council to reconsider is for “executive-style dwellings” on land adjacent to Shallon, Cats Lane, Tydd St Giles.
Humphrey Associates says the application is being made on behalf of Mr & Mrs Grainger, who own the existing paddock/field.
Among objections is this from a villager who says “how many more times will the council planning office entertain applications for the same site, when the first application should have been refused outright, with no further applications for that site to be allowed.
“The ruination of our village started, a few years ago now, with a piece of land sold to the golf course by a resident who moved not long after.
“This seemed to start a snowball effect with residents selling off parcels of land that seemed to get planning consent regardless of the fact that these properties were far too big for this village, and not in keeping. Planning consent that seemed to be approved very easily, in my opinion!
“The fields, hedges, trees, places for wildlife to roam have all diminished. Start protecting what is left. Leave money, and the greed of people out of it.
“This lane is unique and has already been spoiled by a planning consent for a very large property. It’s time to protect what is left of our green areas and refuse this application outright.
“You will only have to visit the site to see the devastation this would give rise to.
“We, as villagers, want to live in a village, with greenery, that’s why we moved here. We don’t want to live in a town with streets all over the place. How much more of our area are you going to allow to be spoiled? I think a good idea would be to have a change of planning committee, and to bring in people who have a care for the environment we live in.”
Humphrey Associates says in a design statement that the application site “once formed part of one larger farm (known as Mills Farm) which has since been divided up, five houses have since been built surrounding the current application site (three on Kirkgate and two along the front of Cats Lane).
“The application site is not agricultural farmed land. Mr & Mrs Grainger wish to create up to two building plots for executive-style dwellings fronting Cats Lane on part of the land, served off the existing field access.
“Mr & Mrs Grainger (who own and live on the adjoining property Roselea on Kirkgate with their three young children), plan to build out both plots proposed to allow their eldest twin daughters to move back into the village with their partners and grandchildren, to benefit from a close family support network.”
Humphrey Associates says the previous planning application was for ‘up to 3No. plots’ and this new application is now for ‘up to 2No. plots’.
The company has outlined “some key applications made by Fenland District Council since the elections that are relevant to the consideration of this application”
The first is a site at Gorefield approved by the planning committee of September 25.
“This site is also a field/paddock,” says Humphrey Associates.
“This site’s relationship to the village is very similar to our application, also located just outside of the village sign.
“The accompanying sequential test was carried out concentrating on Gorefield as a village-wide search and not a district wide search, due to it being close to village sign and deemed within the village settlement – identical to this application.”
The company also quotes an application approved at Turves on September 20.
“The site is in flood zone 3 and failed the sequential test, however committee overruled this objection based on villages needing development to sustain or generate a need for amenities,” says Humphrey Associates.
“The site abuts existing development on one side, but committee deemed it to be infill, within the village.
“The committee agreed that if the site abuts development within the village, how can the site be outside the built form or an ‘elsewhere’ location.
“The chairman also stated that if there are no infill sites left within a village, then the only way for a village to grow is to expand on the edge of the settlement.
“All of these comments made by the committee are key to the consideration of this application.”
Humphrey Associates also quote another application approved by the planning committee on September 7 – and also for Tydd St Giles.
“The site is outside of the village, separated from the built form by two fields and is in flood zone 3,” says the company.
“The application was accompanied by a village-wide sequential test and an officer confirmed it failed the sequential test, however committee overruled and approved the application.
“Development included a residential flat above shops.”
Of the Cats Lane application for two homes, the company says the site “is considered to be in a sustainable location, close to the village centre and seen as a logical extension of the frontage development around Cats Lane.
“The site abuts the existing built form along Cats Lane, and there are houses on either side (Shallon and Tretton House), the site is therefore considered to be within the village and not an ‘elsewhere’ location”.
Humphrey Associates says: “The plots proposed are substantial and will command a certain size of house, which will be in keeping with the other large properties seen along Cats Lane, within the immediate area.
“Each plot will be accessed via a 4m wide shared/private road within the site.
“The shared access is central to the site and offers the optimal visibility in either direction. This section of Cats Lane is technically a 60mph zone, however the nature of the road, its width and the 2 long curves butted close together means the actual achievable driving speed in far less than the speed limit.”
An accompanying survey “confirms that actual speed of cars passing the proposed access averaged in 30mph in both directions.
“In terms of pedestrian connectivity with the village centre and sustainability of the site’s location, Cats Lane does not feature a footpath as existing and nor was it asked for on any other new-build development along Cats Lane”.
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