‘Excessive’ 31 home plan in Stilton ‘reluctantly’ approved despite opposition from villagers

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Approval has been granted for 31 homes in Stilton on the site of an ongoing planning dispute over other larger plans.

Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management committee voted by a majority on Monday to grant outline planning permission for the application submitted by Caddick Land and the landowner.

Plans for the new homes

Plans for the new homes

Outline planning permission for 90 homes on the site – farmland between 68 to 82 North Street and the A1M – was rejected in February earlier this year, but the applicant is appealing that refusal.

That development was rejected “due to an unacceptable impact on the residential amenity of future occupants due to high noise and poor air quality levels from the A1M, as well as concerns regarding school capacity at Stilton Primary School”.

This latest application was recommended for approval by planning officers and the meeting heard that no statutory consultees had objected.

Before permission was granted the agent for the applicant, Mark Lane, was asked by the committee if approval would result in the appeal against refusal for the larger application being withdrawn.

Mr Lane replied: “I would have to take advice on that, and I am not in a position today to answer that.”

Vice-chair of Stilton Parish Council, Dr Keith Bull, described 31 homes on the site as “excessive” and said when considered in addition to other developments in the area, it is “not sustainable and gives no clear benefit”.

He said the noise and air quality factors that formed part of the basis to reject a previous application on the site “still remain”.

Cllr Marge Beuttell said the application “flies in the face of the local plan,” which classified Stilton as a “small village”.

She said together an application for outline planning permission which was granted in April this year for 70 homes on land west of 26 to 34 High Street meant Stilton was now set for a 10 per cent increase in the population. She said this was contrary to the local plan which said there was a case for organic growth.

Mr Lane, the agent for the applicant, said he was “aware of local concerns”.

He said the development is a third of the scale of the previous application and further from the A1M. And he said the evidence showed there is primary school capacity.

A number of councillors spoke out against elements of the proposal but said they could not find material reasons to reject it.

According to the application, it will “create a high-quality residential development”.

Cllr Sarah Conboy said “I am equally going to struggle in the same way that other councillors have already articulated,” adding that having “enough evidence to defend it on material terms we are really weak on because the statutory consultees have not confirmed those issues. And I’m really struggling because I really would like to turn this down, but I really think we are not going to have enough to be able to do that”.

Cllr Douglas Dew said he supported it with a “heavy heart” and would vote for it “reluctantly”.

The application was passed, with councillors voting nine for, four against and one abstention.

Ben Hatton, Local Democracy Reporting Service