Whittlesey residents scrutinise 500 new homes plan

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EXPANSIVE multi-million-pound plans to build a "new community" in Whittlesey will come under the scrutiny of local residents next week.

EXPANSIVE multi-million-pound plans to build a "new community" in Whittlesey will come under the scrutiny of local residents next week.Property developer Larkfleet Homes has announced today that it hopes to build about 500 homes, new shops, public open space and playing fields north of the town.

The scheme, which could also include a 70-bed nursing home and a 50-bed extra care hub, is proposed for land at Bassenhally Farm, between Eastrea Road and Drybread Road.

In order to gauge reaction ahead of making a formal planning application, the company, which has not revealed how much the development could cost, is hosting a public exhibition in the town on Tuesday.

Larkfleet representatives will be at the exhibition, held at the Ivy Leaf Club, in Gracious Street, from 2pm to 7pm, to explain the plans and hear the views of local people.

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Planning director for Larkfleet Homes Richard Edwards said: "It will be the largest single development in Whittlesey for many years, and we want to make sure we get it right.

"We will consider all the comments made at the exhibition, and the comments that we receive from the public, generally.

"Only then will we prepare final plans that will be submitted to the council for planning permission."

However, the plans could cause uproar in the town, which currently has in the region of 4,000 homes, after similar, albeit larger, proposals were met with a furious response in 2002.

At the time, residents complained that those plans would mean local facilities, including GP surgeries, would not be able to cope with the influx of new residents.

Mayor of Whittlesey and chairman of the town council's planning committee Derek Stebbings said he would not comment in detail on the plans until further information emerged.

"Until we see plans to learn how they will improve the infrastructure of the A605, then it's hard to comment on," he said. "There is also only one senior school here, and that's almost fully subscribed.

"We will do a comprehensive assessment in the town council planning committee."

Councillor Martin Curtis, who represents the Kingsmoor ward where the site could be, declined to comment on the plans, due to his position as chairman of Fenland District Council's planning committee.

However, he added: "I'm always very willing to hear from residents about their views and they can do so by visiting my website, www.martincurtis.net."

An outline of the proposals, which the developer hopes to present to Fenland District Council by the end of the year, is contained in a newsletter produced by the company, which will be available at the exhibition.

People who are not able to attend the exhibition can obtain a copy of the newsletter by calling Richard Edwards on 01778 391550, or e-mailing richard.edwards@larkfleethomes.co.uk.