870 home Peterborough development recommended for approval despite funding concerns

A new 870 home development in Peterborough has been recommended for approval despite several objections being raised.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 6:33 am

Taylor Wimpey and Calco 101 Ltd want to develop land at Leeds Farm, to the east of Newborough Road, close to the A47/A16 roundabout, with the plans including a new primary school and community centre.

Peterborough City Council’s planning committee will decide on Tuesday (April 20) whether to approve the plans which have received lukewarm support from officers at the authority.

The council has raised a number of issues over the application, including a shortage of affordable homes, a lack of money for the new school (meaning external funding would need to be sought) and transport concerns, while two parish councils have also issued objections.

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A site plan for the proposed new homes

But despite this, the council’s planning department said it believed the benefits of the new homes would outweigh the problems.

The development is part of the ‘Norwood Urban Extension’ which is earmarked for 2,000 homes in total.

However, the current plans for 870 homes would see just 10 per cent classed as affordable due to the “viability” of the scheme - far below the 30 per cent expected under the council’s own policy.

In addition, the council has acknowledged that developer contributions for the proposed new infrastructure (known as Section 106 contributions) would leave a multi-million shortfall.

A report issued by the authority said the developers are offering £4.4 million despite the new two-form entry primary school and playing fields alone costing £7 million.

The report said the council’s education team would receive £2.68 million of the proposed S106 money which is “£2.1 million short of what the education team requested”.

No funding would be provided for secondary school places either - despite the council saying the size of the scheme meaning it would expect to receive £4.8 million for this - although some will go towards a new cemetery.

The majority of the site for the proposed development is on “intensively farmed arable fields” on the opposite side of Newborough Road to the Paston Reserve housing site.

Summarising its report, the council said: “Members in their decision making will have to balance the benefits of scheme, including the delivery of this allocated housing site, against this shortfall in contributions, to come to a decision on whether the benefits outweigh the harm.”

Objections towards the plans have also been raised over concerns surrounding an increase in traffic and a lack of sustainable transport options.

Peterborough Cycle Forum said: “Residents who travel by foot or cycle, either through necessity or by choice, will have no safe or convenient route by which they can travel to the city centre, major centres of employment, leisure, retail and other facilities.”

Traffic concerns have also been raised by Newborough & Borough Fen Parish Council and Peakirk Parish Council, while the council’s wildlife officer raised an objection over potential “negative impacts” for Dogsthorpe Star Pit, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

However, traffic mitigation is expected to take place in the future as part of a £6.6 million scheme being progressed by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Under its proposals, the A16 would be dualled between the A16/A47/Welland Road Roundabout and the new Norwood development site, while access from Newborough Road onto the A47 would be closed.

In addition, a dedicated left turn lane from the A47 eastbound to the A16 northbound would be introduced, while further capacity would be created on the A47 westbound for traffic turning left to Welland Road and the A16/A47/Welland Road Roundabout would be signalised on the A16 southbound.