Controversial 870 home plan for Peterborough approved after split vote

A controversial planning application for 870 homes to be developed on land east of Newborough Road has been approved, despite numerous objections.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 11:48 am

Members of Peterborough City Council’s Planning and Environmental Protection Committee debated the matter for more than an hour and a half before coming to a conclusion at their online meeting on Tuesday.

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

But the current application only includes the provision of 10 per cent affordable housing which falls far below the council’s own policy of at least 30 per cent.

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A site plan for the proposed new homes
A site plan for the proposed new homes

Nick Harding, council head of development and construction, explained to the members: “The developers are offering as part of the proposal £4.4 million towards the building of a new two-form entry primary school and playing fields

“The council’s education team would receive £2.68 million of the proposed S106 money but that would still leave the new school project more than £2.1 million short of the £7 million needed to complete.

“In addition, there are no funds available or expected for secondary school places.

“However, because the application provides much needed housing in the area and the potential for the completion of the infrastructure surrounding the area, including the new school, officers’ recommendation is that the application be granted subject to several conditions.”

The project will see Taylor Wimpey and Calco 101 Ltd develop the land at Leeds Farm, to the east of Newborough Road, close to the A47/A16 roundabout.

While the plans include a new primary school and community centre they have received lukewarm support from officers at the authority, including over transport, while the two nearest parish councils have also issued objections.

Committee member Cllr Christian Hogg (Lib Dem, Fletton & Stanground) said: “I’m not convinced that this project is more bold and reckless than just bold.”

Cllr Graham Casey (Conservative, Orton Longueville) added: “I’m really sitting on the fence with this application – yes, the city needs affordable housing and the additional school places and the building of the school as part of this new development will be wonderful if it happens.

“But there is simply no guarantee that passing this application will generate the money required for all the other things.

“This application ticks some of the boxes but I do have concerns that it is not coming together all at once, but in bits and pieces.

“I do understand that the developers have reasons for committing in this way, but I do have concerns that people will be moving into these new homes who will need access to services, transport links, bus services and their children will need school places that simply will not be there for some considerable time to come.”

Following the taking of a vote members ended with a stalemate: five votes for the application and five votes against.

In accordance with council protocol this required the committee chair, Cllr Chris Harper (Conservative, Stanground South) to give the deciding vote.

Cllr Harper said: “It would remiss of me to change my vote. I’ve had no mitigating reasons put to me why I should change my vote – therefore I shall, again, vote in favour of the application.”