Affordable homes plan is challenged

John Wood of Westwood with his petition against development of a nearby car park. EMN-150510-214220009
John Wood of Westwood with his petition against development of a nearby car park. EMN-150510-214220009
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The decision to approve 16 affordable homes on a car park near shops in Hampton Court, Westwood, has been challenged by city councillors.

Housing association Cross Keys Homes had been given the go ahead by Peterborough City Council’s planning committee to build 12 flats for rent and four three-bedroom houses for shared ownership.

But four committee members have now called-in the decision which has been suspended and referred to a council appeals committee. A final decision is expected this month.

The councillors who called-in the decision were Labour members Alan Clark, Ann Sylvester and Stuart Martin, and Liberal Party group leader Chris Ash.

Cllr Ash said the development has the potential to improve the area, but that “based on the report and submissions to the council I felt that the plans will make the parking situation worse. With a few modifications to the proposal, that need not be the case.”

A petition of 123 signatories had been handed into the council stating: “We believe that it is an overdevelopment that threatens the continued existence of our local shops.”

Other complaints included increased traffic and the loss of public space.

The application included plans to build on top of the current car park and create a new 22-space car park on nearby land.

Cllr Ed Murphy, Labour and Co-operative member for Ravensthorpe, welcomed the call-in. He said: “The council’s own policy is to protect open space in this ward where there is a deficiency. The decision breached that policy.”

The car park was sold by the council to Cross Keys in 2015, prompting a petition by local resident John Wood who was concerned about the sale.

-A Cross Keys spokeswoman said: “Cross Keys Homes is deeply committed to providing affordable housing for the people of Peterborough, and this development, if it proceeds, will provide much needed one and two bedroom homes to reduce the waiting list for social housing in the city.”