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OPINION: Why we are outraged by ‘flawed application’ for our Cambridgeshire village

92 objection letters had been put forward by local residents of Bottisham

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Residents of Bottisham are outraged and concerned over a recent approval at appeal by the Planning Inspectorate of a potentially flawed application to develop a designated Green Belt area of the village. 

The approval came just one day after Rt. Hon. Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, publicly announced the governments’ aim to focus on utilising and re-generating brown belt land for development, to protect countryside and the Green Belt.

The development proposal also conflicts with the Governments’ National Planning Policy Framework announced in December 2023, that lays out assurances for no requirement to build on the Green Belt.

Residents feel betrayed that Government reassurances to protect Green Belt areas are clearly not being adhered to and that the proposed development will destroy the countryside of Bottisham village by urbanising it.

The proposed development is for up to 170 retirement homes and 51 affordable dwellings. Yet, despite its small population of 2,400, Bottisham already hosts two elderly care facilities, and the East Cambridge District Council Local Plan predicts demand for this type of service is actually needed further north, in the growth areas of Soham, Ely and Littleport.

A major concern with the proposal is the overwhelming pressure on local facilities such as the local medical practice.

Already at full stretch with 6,000 patients being served in the medical practice’s catchment area, the demand for elderly care provision is predicted to rise by a staggering three times if the development were to go ahead. This will severely impact on the service it can provide to the whole community.

In addition, there are questions arising as to why and how this application has been approved, when a substantively similar application was previously rejected on Appeal just over a year earlier. ECDC is currently investigating the possibility of pursuing a Judicial Review of the Appeal decision to have it overturned.

92 objection letters had been put forward by local residents of Bottisham against the proposal and a petition is also taking place.

Bottisham Parish Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council and Bottisham Medical Practice have strongly expressed their concerns over the negative impact the proposed development will have.

If ECDC determine to request a Judicial Review, the deadline for submission is 26 March 2024.

Rt Hon. Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and MP for South East Cambridgeshire has expressed her support for Bottisham residents.

And on behalf of its residents, Bottisham Parish Council are demanding the issue be escalated to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

It is hoped that the application is overturned, and the Green Belt is protected in line with recent government policy assurances.

This petition and supporting arguments to attempt to have this application overturned, was handed into East Cambridgeshire District Council on Tuesday 19th March.

Residents are also looking forward to meeting with local MP Lucy Frazer at an Open Surgery on Saturday 23rd March 10am at Bottisham Sports and Social Club.

Those wishing to pledge their support against the proposed development of the retirement care village in Bottisham can still sign the current petition HTTPS://WWW.CHANGE.ORG/BOTTISHAM_RETIREMENT_PLAN_OBJECTION

 

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