Developers defend affordable homes plan for Peterborough labelled ‘an act of piracy’

Developers have defended their plans for 34 affordable homes on Peterborough farmland which were labelled “an act of piracy” by the leader of the city council.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 5:10 am
Updated Friday, 15th May 2020, 1:50 pm

Larkfleet Homes was strongly criticised by Cllr John Holdich, who is also chair of Glinton Parish Council, after submitting an application for new affordable rent and shared ownership homes on farmland off Lincoln Road, close to Clare Lodge - a secure all-female children’s home.

Cllr Holdich highlighted the fact that a previous planning application on the site from Larkfleet was refused by the council, with an appeal by the developers later being rejected by a government inspector.

Those plans had been for 78 homes as well as sporting facilities for Glinton & Northborough Football Club, but it was ruled that development should not take place on the countryside as it went against the council’s policy, while the site had also not been earmarked for housing.

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The land in Glinton Larkfleet want to develop on

Cllr Holdich said: “This is an act of piracy this planning application. This piece of land has recently gone through an extensive planning inquiry where it was turned down by the inspector.

“Now they come back with lesser housing which is so called ‘affordable’. If it is really affordable it should go through the exception site process which they won’t do.

“The inspector was quite clear this land is outside the village envelope. I’m very disappointed after such a short space of tine Larkfleet should come back with another application for it.”

Rural exception sites are small patches of countryside outside a village boundary used to build affordable homes for local people.

More than a week after Cllr Holdich’s comments, the Bourne-based housebuilder has responded by pointing out comments which have been made by the council’s senior conservation officer that the proposed development is “not of a scale that would materially affect its heritage significance”.

In an email dated May 7 Sam Falco, principal historic built environment officer at Peterborough City Council, said: “It would be difficult to argue that the proposed development would result in an unacceptable level of harm to the character, appearance or historic significance of the Glinton Conservation Area, due to the detachment between the two locations in both distance and character.”

The development has also been cleared by the council’s Environment and Pollution Control Regulatory Services, with noise pollution said to be adequately catered for, Larkfleet added.

Under the plans submitted by Larkfleet the new development would be accessed via a new junction off Lincoln Road.

There would be 19 affordable rent and 16 shared ownership new homes with either two or three bedrooms, as well as a children’s playground made from wooden equipment.

Hannah Guy, planning manager at Larkfleet Homes, said: “We are delighted our proposal for affordable homes at Glinton is receiving positive feedback. We always take particular care to ensure our homes meet local housing needs, blend in with their existing surroundings, with an emphasis on sustainability.

“We are also mindful of the need to contribute towards national objectives of creating mixed communities, which is why our developments comprise a mix of housing types.

“We have been in consultation with PCC’s affordable housing officer so we know these homes are needed. Furthermore, they match the Homes England space requirements and they will be owned and operated by a registered provider of social housing, ensuring they are ‘affordable’.

“It is of paramount importance to us that we provide homes in locations where existing communities can benefit from them.”

The Larkfleet application stated that the new homes would all be “geared towards the smaller end of the spectrum in terms of size,” at under 1,000 square feet.

The plans are likely to be voted on by the council’s planning committee at a later date.