Controversial plans to build more than 100 homes in Cambs town rejected - despite council having 'very few grounds' to refuse

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
North West Cambs MP Steve Barclay was among those who contributed to debate about the development

Controversial plans to build more than 100 new homes in a Cambridgeshire town have been rejected.

Fenland District Council’s (FDC) planning committee voted unanimously to turn down a proposal to build up to 110 houses on the land south of 73–81 Upwell Road in March at a meeting held today (Wednesday, 31 May).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The decision followed more than 80 objections from local residents as well as a petition against the development, which was proposed by building company Allison Homes.

The development would have been built south of Upwell Road in MarchThe development would have been built south of Upwell Road in March
The development would have been built south of Upwell Road in March
Read More
Controversial application to build more than 100 homes in Fenland town to be det...

Councillors on the planning committee echoed residents’ concerns that it would increase congestion in the area as well as the risk of flooding.

But they turned it down on the grounds that the area isn't identified as suitable for development in the council's existing planning policy, despite the applicant pointing out that it is identified in a new draft of this being worked on currently.

FDC planning officers, who recommended that the committee – made up of FDC councillors – approve Allison Homes’ application, warned that there are “very few grounds on which the application could be successfully refused and defended on appeal”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They added that current planning policy allows for developments of this size on towns’ outskirts and that Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) doesn’t object to the plans as either local highways or flood authority.

A spokesman for Allison Homes told the committee that it's willing to comply with the drainage conditions CCC had set out and provide highways enhancements in the local area.

It would also contribute £76,000 to local services, he said, and supply “much needed quality and affordable homes”.

But Cllr Jan French (Conservative, March South), who proposed the motion to refuse the development, said that the application was “premature” because the council’s new planning policies have not yet been finalised.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She also said that traffic on the connected St Peter’s Road is “awful”, while committee chair David Connor (Conservatives, Doddington and Wimblington) agreed that CCC’s highways team “must have gone at midnight” if they think there are no congestion issues there.

Committee hears from North West Cambs MP

Unusually, the committee also heard from North East Cambridgeshire’s Conservative MP Steve Barclay who urged the committee to take local residents’ concerns over flooding on an adjacent road into account while making their decision.

“Of all the case work enquiries I receive about flooding in the constituency, a significant proportion are from residents of Cavalry Drive, which is why I’m taking the unusual step of contacting you and bringing these concerns to your attention,” he wrote in a letter read out to the committee.

“We must build more houses to accommodate our ever-growing population; that said, they must be built in the right place. In recent years, there have been several serious flooding events on Cavalry Drive adjacent to Upwell Road.”

Applications for much smaller developments off Upwell Road have been refused in the past.

Plans to build six houses south of 85-89 Upwell Road were thwarted as recently as February 2023.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.